CDM regulations how seriously should constructors take them?

In last week’s blog we revealed details of a very sad case in which a sub-contractor suffered serious injuries when a stack of plasterboards fell on him at a construction site he was working on in Surrey in breach of the CDM regulations.

The case illustrated not only the dangers facing workers on construction sites but showed what can happen to main contractors if they are found to be in breach of health and safety law and CDM regulations. In this instance the director of the construction company running the project was prosecuted – sentenced to 20 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months, fined £3,400 and ordered to pay costs of £600.

It’s always tragic to hear of cases like this but sadly we know the reality is that most contractors who hear about them are often quick to shrug them off – thinking that nothing like this could ever happen to them.

Breaching CDM Regulations

So, perhaps it’s time that we took a closer look at how many firms and company directors are being prosecuted for breaching Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and whether the number of prosecutions is increasing or decreasing.

Firstly, we need to be clear that over the years we have seen a definite rise in the number of the prosecutions taking place under the regulations – otherwise known as CDM.

The first CDM regulations were introduced in 1994 with the goal of improving health and safety in the industry. These remained in place for 12 years and during that time there were only eight prosecutions and the largest fine that was handed out was £16,000.

How many prosecutions under the CDM regulation?

Fast forward to when the regulations were updated in 2007 and we see a much different picture. This version of CDM was only in place for eight years and during that time there were more than 300 prosecutions, which included a record fine of £1.5m.

Since the latest version of CDM came into force in 2015 there have already been nearly 100 prosecutions. It takes time for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to put together its prosecutions so prosecutions under the 2015 regulations only started appearing in court in 2016. As a result, we can expect the number of prosecutions under the latest regulations to rise even further.

What’s the largest CDM regulations fine?

The largest fine under CDM 2015 so far has been £800,000 and the largest prison sentence given out to date was eight months. Long gone are the 1994 CDM fines of up to £16,000 too. Under the current regulations £6.7m of fines have been handed out to firms – that works out to an average fine of around £71,000 for companies found to be in breach of the law.

Part of the reason for the increase in prosecutions is that CDM covers more now than it did when it was first introduced in 1994 and we have other reasons for suspecting that we are about to see more firms finding themselves in court. Those of you who are regular readers of our blogs may remember that last month we highlighted that the HSE had begun its search for a new Director of Legal Services who will review the organisation’s enforcement activities and lead its prosecution capability. The reason this is of interest to businesses is because there has been press speculation that this new role has been created by the HSE to boost its prosecution figures.

When you put all this together it quickly becomes clear that construction companies need to take CDM regulations very seriously.

What can firms do to ensure they are protected from CDM prosecutions?

Well, unsurprisingly we would advise you to contact a firm like ours to help you through the minefield of regulations. We know how busy construction companies are and wading through CDM regulations and paperwork can feel like an onerous task.

We are an independent and certified Health and Safety company so you can be reassured that the advice and recommendations that you receive from us will always be in your best interests.

Our consultants have worked on projects of all sizes across a wide range of industries and will help you meet all your CDM responsibilities meaning you can relax safe in the knowledge that you’re meeting all the requirements of CDM regulations.

Whatever your CDM role – whether you’re a client, principal designer or principal contractor – our CDM consultants can help you. You can find out more about our CDM Consultants here

For further information about Acorn Safety Services visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

Need help with Health and Safety? Request a call back!

Request a call back from one of our expert Health and Safety Consultants who can help you whatever your health and safety, CDM or fire risk needs.

More Health and Safety Articles & News

Building Fire Risk Assessments

Fire Risk Assessments on Buildings

By Ian Stone | 22nd September 2020

In this blog we will consider why fire risk assessments are essential for certain types of buildings. In essence, fire risk assessments need to be carried out on all non-domestic properties and on communal areas of rented properties. The identified risks and subsequent safety measures that you put in place must be passed onto employees …

Read moreFire Risk Assessments on Buildings

Health and Safety book

Acorn experts release health and safety guide

By Neil Munro | 15th September 2020

We are thrilled to announce that we have launched a new no-nonsense health and safety guide. The book, called ‘Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety – Stay out of Prison, Avoid Massive Fines and Cut Through the Red Tape’ has been written by two of Acorn Safety Services’ directors – Neil Munro and Ian …

Read moreAcorn experts release health and safety guide

John Crockett

Focus on John Crockett – Acorn Safety Services’ Health and Safety Manager

By Ian Stone | 9th September 2020

John Crockett is Acorn Safety Services’ health and safety manager. He has worked in the Health and Safety industry for about 30 years. Prior to that he had been a project manager and a fitter for various construction companies so in total he has worked in the construction industry for around 45 years. In this …

Read moreFocus on John Crockett – Acorn Safety Services’ Health and Safety Manager

Risk assessments on construction sites

Risk assessments on construction sites

By Neil Munro | 25th August 2020

Managing health and safety on construction sites can be far more complex than in other workplaces. In factories and offices, you normally have the same teams working together, fulfilling regular duties. In comparison, on a construction site, the site is undergoing a transformation and teams from different trades come together to work alongside one another. …

Read moreRisk assessments on construction sites

Refurbishment of Hospitals

Refurbishment of Hospitals

By Neil Munro | 18th August 2020

When it comes to refurbishment projects, hospitals can be particularly high-risk environments. The potential for health and safety issues is immense as any construction work must be planned around the ongoing needs of patients and staff. Patients must continue to be cared for, operations must take place and prescriptions must continue to be provided. These …

Read moreRefurbishment of Hospitals

Government Health and Safety Regulations

How can you protect your firm from Government Health and Safety Regulations?

By Neil Munro | 11th August 2020

Many businesses are growing increasingly frustrated with an ever-increasing workload generated by more and more Government health and safety regulations. Keeping up to date with the latest regulations can be a minefield for firms and when things go wrong, business owners are left facing the risk of prosecution, fines or even jail. In 2020 businesses …

Read moreHow can you protect your firm from Government Health and Safety Regulations?

Retained Health and Safety Consultant

The importance of site audits

By Neil Munro | 4th August 2020

Clients have a responsibility to ensure their projects are undertaken safely. If they feel their contractors are not performing as they should be, or are unsure what their performance is like, we can carry out a site audit. This will identify which parts of their projects are being done well and which need attention. In …

Read moreThe importance of site audits

social distance in construction sites

How Do Construction Sites Social Distance?

By Neil Munro | 16th June 2020

As some normality starts to return to our lives, and a growing number of us start to return to work, it has become obvious that new ways of working are also going to become a part of everyday life. Construction is an industry that has embraced PPE for longer than almost any other, and with …

Read moreHow Do Construction Sites Social Distance?

HSE Business Plan

HSE Business Plan Means More Scrutiny of Principle Designers

By Neil Munro | 29th May 2020

Once the building industry gets back up and running properly following COVID, the HSE have started working on the HSE business plan which likely includes more focus on Principle Designers on building projects that come under its investigation.  This was a move that was announced late 2019, but the lack of serious construction work since …

Read moreHSE Business Plan Means More Scrutiny of Principle Designers

Brexit and health and safety law

Will BREXIT affect Health & Safety in the UK?

By Neil Munro | 15th May 2020

Now that we are starting to see some positive progression with COVID-19, we can start to look at other pressing matters.  Like, will Brexit affect health and safety in the UK? Thankfully largely ignored during the pandemic, Brexit is still going on in the background, and the UK is still due to officially leave the …

Read moreWill BREXIT affect Health & Safety in the UK?