How do we “drive change” within CDM rather than just “reflect change”?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is looking to change the emphasis within the construction industry with regard to health and safety.

The focus has traditionally been on safety over health and to respond to events. This has been referred to as ‘reflecting change’. What the HSE would like to see developed is a more proactive approach which ‘drives change’ rather than responds to it. The areas that the HSE would particularly like to see change in are:

  • More focus by individuals on their own health and safety
  • A greater emphasis on health issues
  • Along with a continuing focus on improving safety by good design

At Aegis we support this drive and are taking practical steps to implement it.  The first part of this is to ensure that all duty holders under CDM are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities under the Regulations.  This is particularly true for the client on any project.

We can do this by explaining to the duty holder what their duties and responsibilities are.  This can be in writing, training sessions or through briefing them face to face, or by a combination of these means.

One of the key influencing factors for this is to explain to dutyholders that using good practice on a project to eliminate or reduce risk can result in saving time and money.   By engaging early with design teams we can drive change by advising on good practice to allow safe innovation within the design process.   We can also focus on buildability issues in order to make projects safer and easier to construct.

Some examples in these areas include:

  • Applying concrete sealants immediately after a concrete pour to prevent dust rising subsequently. This reduces construction workers’ exposure to respirable silica dust
  • Using directional drilling with larger diameter pipework rather than digging trenches for utilities
  • Using the latest Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), which are capable of working higher in more complex and confined spaces
  • Using modern materials rather than more traditional ones. For example using composite-based grid flooring over standard galvanised steel.  These are lighter so easier to install and maintain; have smaller openings thus minimising the need for under-cloaking; and have improved slip resistance
  • Using digital models to build safety by design

Our staff work on a wide range of projects across many construction sectors.  As a result we see the latest innovations and developments being used.   By observing the effectiveness, or otherwise, of new tools, techniques and technology we can make suggestions on other projects where we think it will add value and drive improvements in health and safety.