Date: 18 January 2018

Speaker: James Riddick, Health & Safety Adviser, Eric Wright Group, Preston

James gave us a thought-provoking presentation that focussed on practical ways of complying with the requirements of the CDM Regulations 2015 during the construction stage. He used case studies to illustrate compliance problems and solutions.

He reminded delegates that Schedule 3 of the Regulations covered specific arrangements for managing safety on site that must be considered in the site Risk Assessment and recorded as ‘not applicable’, if appropriate, to demonstrate that all potential problems had been considered before work started on site. Specified topics include:

  • Excavation safety
  • Falls from height
  • Risks from chemical or biological hazards
  • Ionizing radiation
  • High voltage power lines
  • Risk of drowning
  • Diving
  • Work in compressed air
  • Explosives
  • Assembly or disassembly of heavy prefabricated items

Next James looked at the Principal Contractor’s duties to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate the construction phase of a project. They are clearly set out in Regulation 13 and include requirements to:

James said that it was important that these Risk Assessments were site specific, easy to understand and that all workers on site ‘bought in’ to them. He used examples of Eric Wright Group’s CDM site management system to illustrate the problems posed by CDM (2015) and ways that these could be resolved. He also emphasised the importance of developing site safety induction and management systems that were led by the Site Manager.

  • Liaise with the client and principal designer.
  • Prepare the site construction phase plan.
  • Organise cooperation between contractors and to coordinate their work.

James then covered a topic that had caused problems for the Eric Wright Group because it was poorly publicised namely water quality and the BS:8551 2011- A British Standard for Temporary Water supplies requirement that:James warned members that an increasing number of HSE Inspectors were enforcing this standard when they inspected construction site welfare facilities.

“…Storage vessels/ transfer vessels should be clean, disinfected and sampled prior to delivery. Any vessel being used for the storage of wholesome water should comply with the water fittings regulations ie. WRAS approved and made from materials approved in regulation 31 of the drinking water regulations. Any company suppling a tank should always provide their customer with a certificate of disinfection and sample certificate before being installed on site…”

James then considered the requirement to provide welfare facilities on site and how HSE were enforcing this. He illustrated this with examples of inadequate welfare provision and examples of good welfare facilities on large, medium and small construction sites.

He explained that the Principal Contractor also had a duty to make and maintain arrangements that will enable workers to co-operate in developing, promoting and checking the effectiveness of health and safety measures. He said that the only way to do this effectively was to have meaningful discussions with workers and to ensure they had easy access to relevant site safety management information such as site rules and Risk Assessments and that they understood why they were necessary.

James then considered Contractors’ duties under Regulation 14 to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without causing risks to site health and safety. He reminded members that Regulation 17 requires construction sites to be safe places to work with:

  • Safe access
  • Enough space – for example, adequate parking provision, adequate and secure storage space, adequate space for deliveries etc…
  • Free from harm to safety, health and welfare – for example, safe management of asbestos, dust, HAVS, COSHH, noise, welfare facilities, security etc…

He said Regulation 18 requires construction sites have secure boundaries to prevent unauthorised access, and, ‘Good Housekeeping’ policies to ensure that equipment is ‘looked after’ and maintained to a high standard. He reminded members that a well-managed, orderly construction site also helps to develop a positive safety culture on site.

Next James considered Regulation 19 that covers the stability of new and existing structures including: new brickwork, BS5975 Temporary Works, scaffolding, formwork and propping.

He reminded members that:

  • Regulation 20 states that demolition and dismantling projects must be planned and that arrangements must be recorded before demolition commences.
  • Regulation 25 includes specific requirements about the safe management of construction site energy distribution
  • Regulation 27 includes specific requirements about the safe management of construction site traffic management.

He also listed other Regulations that he did not have time to consider during his presentation.

James encouraged members to ask questions during his presentation. This led to some lively discussions with interesting additional examples of construction site management problems from our members.

It was an enjoyable and worthwhile meeting.

A copy of James’ presentation can be found here: Jan 2018 CDM 2015 briefing