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    HSE CONSTRUCTION CHIEF ON 2013 PRIORITIES

    Competence, prequalification and CDM-C all open to change

    The HSE Chief Inspector for Construction, Philip White, has given an interview to Construction Manager(CM) concerning HSE priorities for the construction sector in 2013.

    During the interview Mr White indicated that:

    • Competence and Prequals: industry bodies should to come together to consolidate and reform the plethora of card and pre-qualification schemes required to prove health and safety “competency” as part of a bid to sweep away the bureaucracy and tick-box mentality that is engulfing the sector;
    • Simplification of processes: health and safety processes should be simplified across the board and focus on processes that add value in reducing ill health and accidents on sites, rather than generating information and paperwork for the sake of it; and
    • CDM Regulations: a review of the CDM Regulations 2007 will focus on three key areas: (i) role of the CDM coordinator (ii) the competencies of construction professionals, site personnel and organisations, and  (iii) the continued need for the Approved Code of Practice accompanying the regulations.

    Philip White criticised the variety of trade-specific skills cards adding that 

    “Research published last year indicated that there are some 300 cards from over 40 certification schemes. Some are competence based, such as the scheme for scaffolders and the plant, but others are a record of having passed a test. Just because you have a card doesn’t mean you are competent. It’s also difficult for site managers and smaller businesses who really don’t know what all of them mean. There needs to be more mutual recognition between schemes and some rationalisation. By improving the mechanisms that deliver training, qualifications and cards, and by achieving common understanding on key principles, delivery of a simpler framework of competence will benefit the industry.”

    CDM coordinator could be ‘rolled into’ the job of lead designer

    Regarding the review of the CDM ACOP Philip White told CM that the role of the CDM Coordinator could be “rolled into the job of lead designer or project manager rather than it being a standalone professional”. He added:

    “People think of the CDM-C as an individual who carries out this role, but it is a corporate function that needs to be discharged and as such could be carried out by the lead designer, project manager, or client themselves, which might deliver better value.”

    A CDM Regulations Review consultation document has been delayed and is now expected in the spring 2013.

    Fee for intervention fragile roof deaths

    Regarding Fee for Intervention Philip White said:

    “Generally, our inspectors have not been subject to as much resistance as we might have expected. But it will be interesting what the reaction is when the invoices go out in the New Year” 

    Mr White also reported that HSE had noticed an increase fatal falls through fragile roofs. On average there are six fatalities each year from falls through fragile surfaces, but initial figures show an increase in this number over the past 6-9 months. He added:

    “We’re not sure why this is, it could be that the bad weather has damaged more roofs and made for more repairs, which tended to be carried out by jobbing builders, which are a hard-to-reach target. We certainly need to try to raise our game in this area.” 

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