Are you ready for change?
How many construction workers are aware of their legal responsibilities under the revamped Construction Design Management Regulations (CDM 2015)?
It is very concerning that on a daily basis I frequently come across construction workers with little or no concept of their legal responsibilities under the revised CDM regulations, which came into force on the 6th April, 2015. Furthermore, there continues to be regular published prosecutions released by the HSE for the construction sector, which are sure to rise with compliance now extended to domestic projects.
So Who Is Classified As A Contractor?
Around 70% of fatalities in the construction industry occur on small sites – those with fewer than 15 workers.
Anyone who directly employs or engages construction workers or manages construction is a contractor. Contractors include sub-contractors, any individual, sole trader, self-employed worker, or business that carries out, manages or controls construction work as part of their business. This also includes companies that use their own workforce to do construction work on their own premises. The duties on contractors apply whether the workers under their control are employees, self-employed or agency workers. Where contractors are involved in design work, including for temporary works, they also have duties as designers.
What Is Deemed To Be Construction Work?
‘“Construction work” means the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work and includes—
(a) The construction, alteration, conversion, fitting out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance (including cleaning which involves the use of water or an abrasive at high pressure, or the use of corrosive or toxic substances), de-commissioning, demolition or dismantling of a structure;
(b) The preparation for an intended structure, including site clearance, exploration, investigation (but not site survey) and excavation (but not pre-construction archaeological investigations), and the clearance or preparation of the site or structure for use or occupation at its conclusion;
(c) The assembly on site of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly on site of the prefabricated elements which, immediately before such disassembly, formed a structure;
(d) The removal of a structure, or of any product or waste resulting from demolition or dismantling of a structure, or from disassembly of prefabricated elements which immediately before such disassembly formed such a structure;
(e) The installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of mechanical, electrical, gas, compressed air, hydraulic, telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure, but does not include the exploration for, or extraction of, mineral resources, or preparatory activities carried out at a place where such exploration or extraction is carried out’. (Regulation 2 CDM, 2015, p 10, 11).
Essentially, the implications are going to be a huge culture shock for local builders, plumbers, electricians etc. However on the flip side, the more who comply, the less will suffer HSE prosecutions and subsequent business losses. It is crystal clear that more needs to be done to inform construction workers of their legal responsibilities.
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