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Effect of the CDM Regulations on Accident Statistics

Info: 5351 words (21 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Construction

The Effect of the Cdm Regulations on Accident Statistics within the UK – The implementation of the CDM regulations under the CDM Co-ordinators.


Health and safety in the construction industry has experienced considerable research over the last few decades in order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities within the construction industry. Health and safety practices such as the HSC that introduced the CDM regulations in 1994 and the current revised regulations introduced in 2007 are perceived to provide numerous benefits in maintaining a safer industry. With approximately 7%-8% of employment within the UK involved in the construction industry and an estimated 8% of the UK’s GDP it is important to do so. There is a growing importance due to the high rate of employment in the construction industry to provide a detailed set of safety regulations known as the CDM regulations that everyone involved with construction must follow. As a result of this many organisations such as the HSC, have initiated targets to ensure that the health and safety on sites improves dramatically, and to encourage the government to formulate official targets to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries by a certain date.

However, although the CDM regulations 1994 did have a positive effect on the health and safety in the industry there was still areas of concern within the regulations that professionals were unsure of who carried out different roles and the fact that the rate of fatalities and injuries was not decreasing significantly enough, this was the reason for the review of the CDM regulations 1994 and the implementation of the new CDM regulations 2007 which is designed to provide a clearer background into construction H&S. Using a sample group methodology, and acknowledging specifically the principal contractor, this study aims to assess whether the HSC can achieve its aim of reducing the number of fatalities and injuries by 10% in the UK by 2010 and ultimately assess whether or not the CDM regulations make a significant difference to H&S statistics. This will be reviewed by looking at the implementation techniques used by the PC’s on site and develop a framework to provide the best technique in which to do so.

Chapter One: Introduction

This chapter introduces the principal aim of the study, in addition to the proposed objectives and research questions.


The construction industry has had H&S regulations in place known as the CDM regulations for a number of years now which have recently been renewed. The CDM regulations have application to a majority of construction projects undertaken in the UK which provide the industry with specific standards involving H&S that are considered acceptable to the government and alternatively, to the construction worker.

The latest regulations represent an important trend towards the paternalistic intervention of the government in relation to health and safety. Historically, the ambit of health and safety on site was left to the individual company; this was due to the requirements of the Conservative governments, and if things went wrong it was up to the individual to cope. This tendency has developed during the twentieth century with great attention in recent years of government focus in developing the H&S of the construction worker.

2.2 million (1 in 14) People work in Britain’s construction industry, making it the country’s biggest industry, but it accounts for 16% of major accidents and 25% of fatal injuries. It is has also been acknowledged that for a number of years in the UK it has been one of the most dangerous industries to be employed in. In the last 25 years, over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. Many more have been injured or made ill. HSE deals with all aspects of construction work in England, Scotland and Wales. In 2006-2007 alone there were 77 fatal injuries to workers in the construction industry, this was a 28% increase to the 59 in 2005-2006. The 77 fatalities in the construction industry during 2006-2007 accounted for 32% of all worker deaths. The rate of fatal injury to workers per hundred thousand rose to 3.7 in 2006-2007 compared to that of 3.0 in 2005-2006.

In providing these statistics relatively closely to the date the fatality occurred, this means many cases are still under investigation. Consequently, these figures are highly provisional, and may be subject to revision as more relevant information becomes available.

* The term Workers includes employees and the self-employed combined.

RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) is the primary determinant as to whether a fatal accident is included in these figures or not.

Improvements regarding the Health and Safety in the construction industry are urgently needed as it remains a disproportionately dangerous industry which is important not only for the people involved in the industry but also for the expected 2-3% growth within the next 5 years. The improvements require significant and permanent changes in duty holder attitudes and behaviour. Since the original CDM Regulations were introduced in 1994, concerns were raised that their complexity and the bureaucratic approach of many duty holders frustrated the Regulations’ underlying health and safety objectives. These views were supported by an industry-wide consultation in 2002 which resulted in the decision to revise the Regulations.

The new CDM 2007 Regulations revise and bring together the CDM Regulations 1994 and the Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 into a single regulatory package known as the CDM regulations 2007.

The health and safety process has always been a much talked about topic within England and Wales every since the first CDM regulations were launched in 1994. The need to reform this process has been highlighted by research carried out by the health and safety executive which shows that there is need for improvement in the implementation of these regulations which is the main reason for the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007. The research shows that:

These have been developed in close consultation with construction industry stakeholders.

The proposal for the CDM 2007 aims to:

  • simplify the Regulations to improve clarity and make it easier for everyone to know what is expected of them;
  • maximise their flexibility to fit with the vast range of contractual arrangements;
  • focus on planning and management, rather than ‘the plan’ and other paperwork;
  • encourage co-ordination and co-operation, particularly between designers and contractors; and
  • Simplify the assessment of the competence of organisation.

The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) has special legal status and gives practical advice for all those involved in construction work. If you follow the advice in the ACoP you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which it gives advice.

The ACoP which includes a copy of the CDM regulations explains:

  • The legal duties placed on clients, CDM co-ordinators, designers, principal contractors, contractors, self-employed and workers.
  • The circumstances in which domestic clients do not have duties under CDM 2007 (but that the regulations still apply to those doing work for them).
  • Gives information on the new role of CDM co-ordinator – a key project adviser for clients and responsible for coordinating the arrangements for health and safety during the planning phase of larger and more complex projects.
  • Which construction projects need to be notified to HSE before work starts and gives information on how this should be done.
  • How to assess the competence of organisations and individuals involved in construction work.
  • How to improve co-operation and co-ordination between all those involved in the construction project and with the workforce.
  • What essential information needs to be recorded in construction health and safety plans and files, as well as what shouldn’t be included.

Rationale for the Research

The subject of this dissertation developed from a personal interest in the Health and Safety aspect of the construction industry and the significant research within the industry on how to minimise the injuries and fatalities on site. Most of this research has concentrated on the best ways to improve the implementation process of the CDM regulations 2007, whether the changes are necessary from the CDM regulations 1994 and in terms of whether these changes have brought about the desired results and effect on the industry that it intended I.e. have the CDM regulations brought about an improvement in the safety of site work with regards to a clearer, faster and easier process of implementation.

Having looked at a wide range of literature and internet sites on the CDM regulations it is clear to me that there was evidence that the introduction of the CDM regulations was regarded by professionals as advantageous to the industry, however there are certain people that believe it has been less effective than it should have been on the industry. Although people have highlighted problems with the CDM regulations it is definitely an introduction by the government that is here to stay. This consideration has led me to undertake research into whether the new legislation has been implemented successfully and whether the changes are necessary. This was implemented under the research title; the implementation of the CDM regulations under the CDM co-ordinators.

The CDM regulations have the potential to make a significant impact on the industry with regards to health and safety however it is unrealistic to think that this can be achieved very quickly without encountering any problems in an area which has had much debate regarding this topic. It will take time before the new legislation will be free flowing however improvements in both effectiveness and efficiency can be expected as lessons are learnt. E.g. more home CDM co-ordinators becoming qualified.

The following information in this chapter gives further details about the principle objectives for this research topic.


As a result the fundamental aim of this study is to determine whether the Health and Safety Commissions aim is achievable and thus, determine whether there is a foreseeable optimistic future for the reduction of accidents within the construction industry.

The overall aim of the project is to produce a coherent document which catalogues, in which detail the impacts which the CDM regulations have had upon the construction industry and which encapsulates some original, primary research.


This aim will be investigated through a series of key objectives:

  • To provide an understanding on the CDM regulations, evaluating the need, efficiency and reliability of them;
  • To establish different professions understanding of the CDM regulations;
  • To establish the application of the CDM regulations at both organisational level and implementation of the CDM regulations;
  • To determine whether there is a foreseeable optimistic future for the reduction of accidents within the construction industry;
  • To examine, compare and contrast the perceptions of construction professionals in order to determine whether the number of accidents on construction sites are likely to significantly decrease in the next five years;
  • To assess whether the construction professionals are sufficiently protected by the CDM regulations and identify any implementing techniques that aid, or otherwise, the CDM regulations.

The study will follow with a review of current literature regarding the effectiveness of the CDM regulations, and a description of the methodology used in order to collect and analyse the results of the data collected. The outcome of the findings will be discussed and conclusions will be made incorporating both limitations of the study and recommendations for future research.

Outline Research Methodology

My research topic has incorporated two research approaches in order to collect information which were the following: secondary data collection and fieldwork research.

Secondary data collection

This form of research refers to the ‘desk study’’ approach where data is obtained from sources that cite from primary sources. This method had been used to achieve the first, fourth and fifth objectives. These sources will be critically appraised by means of a systematic literature review which will cover textbooks, newspaper articles, research journals, thesis, reports, trade publications, etc.

Fieldwork research

This form of research refers to the methods of primary data collection which can take the form of a number of practical approaches. This method of research was accomplished to utilise objectives two and three. The selected method for this thesis will be a structured survey approach in the form of personal interviews and a questionnaire. This method was selected as it is the best form of gathering data from a large number of respondents in a relatively short time frame. The interviews and questionnaires will adopt a semi structured format, employing mainly open questions to gather the data.

The research method is a way in which the research objective can be questioned and achieved. Throughout my research I will be using a number of core sources of references such as the books, the internet, newspapers, companies, journals and questionnaires in order to carry out my objectives. I will decide upon the most appropriate research strategy which can be carried out in two ways depending on the purpose of the study and the type and availability of the information required. These two methods can be classified as “Quantitative” and “Qualitative”. Quantitative research can be defined as “objective” in nature. It involves the description or analysis of statistical procedures that involves specific measurements of variables to determine whether a theory holds true. Qualitative research on the other hand can be defined as “subjective” in nature. It does not involve the use of specific variables, but relies on reasons behind various aspects of data. It emphasises the means, experiences and different descriptions of topics from different authors points of view.

Chapter Two: Literature Review


This chapter is intended to critically appraise issues and statements identified by the literature review and ascertain the industries, practitioners and authors opinions of the progress, implementation and success of the CDM regulations. A wide range of key literature from sources such as research journals, refereed conferences, thesis, textbooks, reports, trade publications and newspaper articles on this research topic were reviewed, analysed and appraised of their strengths and weaknesses.

To best demonstrate these perceptions the author has chosen to break the critical appraisal into the following sub-headings; Cost of Implementation, Health and Safety Training, Additional Paperwork, Success of CDM.

In doing so, it is anticipated that some individuals connected with the construction industry will be interviewed and their views on the success or failure of the CDM regulations on the construction industry. It is anticipated that these views will be assessed in conjunction with valid information gathered in relation to the CDM regulations and how they have developed within the UK in recent years. There will also be an assessment of how the CDM regulations could be improved upon, and how the project has contributed to this assessment.

Chapter Three: CDM Regulations 2007

3.0 CDM Regulations 2007

The new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations were brought into place on the 6th April 2007 in order to consolidate the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 as well as the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 into one regulatory package. In order to help achieve the implementation of this new process the supporting guidance for these regulations has been revised with the aid of a new approved code of practice available to assist each professional with their individual duties under the CDM regulations 2007.


It is necessary for all professionals involved in the construction industry to be aware of the new CDM regulations 2007 as they apply to all construction work. The aims of these regulations are to:

  • Improve health and safety within the construction industry;
  • Ensure that there are the right people for the right job at the right time to manage the potential risks on site;
  • To focus on effective planning and managing risk – manage the risk not the paperwork.

3.1 The Client

A client can be described as an individual or organisation who in the course or furtherance of a business has a construction project carried out by another or himself, this however excludes domestic clients but not domestic premises. A domestic client is someone who lives or will live, in the premises where the work is carried out.

The roles of the client under the new CDM regulations 2007 are similar to that of the 1994 regulations however they have been given a higher profile with emphasis on providing the construction team is provided with strong leadership and ensure that the client is responsible for their influence on the H&S of people working on, or affected by the project. It is the role of the client under the CDM regulations to appoint a CDM coordinator and a principal contractor on all notifiable projects in order to advise and co-ordinate activities.

It is the responsibility of the client to carry out a number of duties on all projects:

  • Must check all appointee’s competence and resources using the ACoP competence criteria;
  • Must also ensure that enough time and resource is provided to allow the project to be delivered safely, what you want, when you want it and on budget;
  • Provide key information to contractors and designers;
  • Ensure everyone involved with the project co-operate and co-ordinate their activities;
  • Establish a competent project team as soon as possible to ensure the project is safe to build, safe to use, safe to maintain and deliver good value;
  • Ensure suitable management arrangements are in place;
  • Ensure adequate welfare facilities are on site;
  • Ensure workplaces are designed correctly which should comply with the WHSW.

On all notifiable projects the clients must carry out the above duties as well as:

  • They must appoint a competent CDM Co-ordinator and provide them with key information;
  • They must appoint a competent principal contractor;
  • Ensure that there are suitable welfare facilities provided on site as well as a construction phase health and safety plan has been produced before the construction phase can start;
  • Retain and provide access to the H&S file as well as revise it with any new information;

It is not the responsibility of the client to audit or supervise the work on site. In order for the client to explain their management arrangements then they may ask their project team or contractors to do this for them. For small projects where contractors employ less than 5 people then demonstrating management arrangements may be in the form of an oral briefing rather than have everything in writing. The client must perform simple checks regularly to ensure their management arrangements are being followed which include there is adequate protection for workers and the public on site, ensuring that there is good co-operation and communication between the contractors and the designers. They must also ask the contractors to confirm that the arrangements they agreed upon have been implemented.

3.2 The Coordinator

The person appointed to advise and assist the client on how to comply with the CDM Regulations during the project, and to ensure that suitable arrangements are made and implemented for the co-ordination of health and safety measures during planning and preparation for the construction phase. The CDM coordinators replaced the role of the Planning Supervisor under the CDM regulations 1994 and are only appointed on notifiable contracts but this appointment must be made early. This role has been changed due to the overall consideration that the Planning Supervisor has not been a success with more expectation placed on the new role of the coordinator. The main aim of the coordinator is to act to reduce risks during the construction process rather than to generate unnecessary paperwork.

The CDM coordinator has the responsibility to carry out a number of Duties during the project:

  • Advise the client about selecting competent designers and contractors;
  • Help identify what information will be needed by designers and contractors;
  • Co-ordinate the arrangements for health and safety of planning and design work;
  • Ensure that HSE is notified of the project (unless a domestic client);
  • Advise on the suitability of the initial construction phase plan;
  • Prepare a health and safety file (information for the client to enable future cleaning, maintenance and alterations to be carried out safely)
  • You are the key advisor to the client and the catalyst for effective communication and co-ordination throughout the project

A CDM coordinators role can be filled by anybody, however they must fulfil the competence requirements given in the ACoP, if no appointment has been made then it is generally the client who will carry out this role.

3.3 The Designer

A designers duties under the CDM regulations applies to all construction work including domestic projects as well as non-notifiable ones. A designer can be described as someone that carries out the design process or specifies building work I.e. makes any project related decision, which therefore means there are a wide number of parties that can fall under this profession, such as Design and construction contractors, civil and structural engineers, clients who specify, etc.

A designer has the responsibility to carry out their duties on all projects involving construction work. This includes:

  • Making sure that the Client is aware of his duties;
  • Making sure the client is adequately resourced and competent to carry out their own duties such as the health and safety issues that are involved with the design of a project;
  • Provide substantial information about any potential risks that may be associated with the design that can be put in the health and safety file;
  • Coordinating their work with others in order to improve the way potential risks are managed and controlled;
  • Co-operate with others such as CDM Co-ordinators and the Principal Contractor;
  • Avoiding foreseeable risks during the design work for people involved on the current and future uses of the structure. They should also eliminate hazards and risks associated with those hazards that remain.

The most important role for a competent designer is to eliminate the hazards and reduce risks.

3.4 The Principal Contractor

The changes in the CDM regulations have brought little change to the duties of the principal contractor. An early appointment of a principal contractor by the client is necessary on all notifiable projects. The principal contractor must ensure that everyone they appoint such as sub-contractors as competent. The main aim of the PC is to ensure that the construction phase is properly planned, managed, monitored and resourced.

The principal contractor has a number of duties that must be carried out throughput the project:

  • Inform contractors of the minimum time allowed for planning and preparation
  • Provide relevant information to contractors
  • Ensure safe working, co-ordination and co-operation between contractors
  • Construction phase health and safety plan is prepared and implemented
  • Plan needs to set out the organisation and arrangements for managing risk and co-ordinating work
  • Plan should be tailored to the particular project and risks involved
  • Suitable welfare from the start
  • Prepare and enforce site rules as required
  • Give reasonable direction to contractors including client appointed contractors
  • Prevent unauthorised entry
  • Provide plan to those who need it
  • Promptly provide the CDM co-ordinator with information for the file
  • Liaise with CDM co-ordinator in relation to design and design changes
  • Ensure all workers have been provided with suitable health and safety induction, information and training
  • Ensure the workforce is consulted about health and safety matters
  • Display key project information to workers

It is not the responsibility of the PC to provide training for workers they do no employ however contractors do. Neither do they have to undertake detailed supervision of contractors work. The construction phase plan must only be filled in with relevant information rather then endless generic paperwork.

  • Other Contractors

Sub Contractors are present on all projects not just notifiable ones. They are unable to start work on a construction site until they have obtained the pre construction information necessary from the client or PC. The sub contractors must manage their own work to make sure that their workers are safe as well as ensuring that hey and those they appoint are completely competent and adequately resourced.

On all projects they must:

  • Inform any contractor that they engage, of the minimum amount of time they have for planning and preparation
  • Provide their workers (whether employed or self-employed) with any necessary information and training and induction
  • Report anything that they are aware of that is likely to endanger the H&S of themselves or others
  • Ensure that any design work they do complies with CDM design duties
  • Comply with the duties for site health and safety
  • Co-operate and co-ordinate with others working on the project
  • Consult the workforce
  • Not begin work unless they have taken reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site
  • Obtain specialist advice (e.g. from a structural engineer or occupational hygienist) where necessary

On notifiable projects they must:

  • Check that a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed and HSE notified before they start work
  • Co-operate with the principal contractor, CDM co-ordinator and others working on the project
  • Tell the principal contractor about risks to others created by their work
  • Comply with any reasonable directions from the principal contractor
  • Work in accordance with the construction phase plan
  • Inform the principal contractor of the identity of any contractor he appoints or engages
  • Inform the principal contractor of any problems with the plan or risks identified during their work that have significant implications for the management of the project
  • Inform the principal contractor about any death, injury, condition or dangerous occurrence
  • Provide information for the health and safety file

Chapter Four: Methodology

This chapter discusses the different methodological approaches for this study. Detailed accounts of the specific research strategies are also examined, highlighting the methods used to analyse and interpret the data collected. Finally, the location of the study and methodological restrictions are also considered.

Comparative data can be collected in various forms, these being experimental, commercial and “official” data. Experimental data was chosen because it is derived from real life situations, and this was essential giving the fundamental aim of assessing the future of the CDM regulations. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the reliability of experimental data is largely dependant on the willingness and honesty of the professional to participate (Morris et al., 2001).

Research Strategies

In order to explore the main perceptions and attitudes of principal contractors, a self completition postal questionnaire was decided on rather than a telephone survey or an interview survey primarily because it was Christmas time during the main period of data collection, and so it was assumed many construction workers would be on their Christmas break and would not be available for an interview or present in the office for a telephone inquiry. The idea behind the postal questionnaire was that they could complete it and send it back whenever they had time. Questionnaires are an “indispensable tool when primary data is required about people, their behaviour, attitudes, opinions and awareness of specific issues”. The questionnaires were enclosed with a self addressed envelope, intending to speed up and ensure the return of the questionnaires. One potential problem with the questionnaires was that they might not be filled out by the right person.

Twenty principal contractors were randomly selected from a list of construction companies in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, provided by the yellow pages. Each company was contacted by telephone to explain the basis of the study find out who to send it to, and gain his or her agreement to participate. A tick box at the bottom of every questionnaire gave the farmer the choice of whether or not they wanted to be contacted again, in the hope of setting up a number of interviews.

The questionnaire design was of a semi-qualitative design, as the questionnaires incorporated a number of open and closed questions.

The closed questions differed between multiple choices, dichotomous, likert, categorical and scaled questions. Although, open questions can be more difficult to understand and are perhaps harder to analyse than closed questions, it was important to include the

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