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Discuss what advice you would give to those reviewing the CDM Regulations, including your

recommendations on what should be changed (with your reasons).

October 11, 2014

Table of contents
1. Introduction......................................................................................................................3
2. Advisories by CONIAC...................................................................................................3
3. Gaps and flaws in the advisories and suggested remedial measures...............................4
4. Recommendation for change and the reasons.................................................................5
5. Conclusions......................................................................................................................6
References............................................................................................................................8

1. INTRODUCTION
The UK construction industry is one of the main industrial sectors, and in 2013, it
contributed 83.0 billion or 6.9 percent, to the UK economy. It provides direct and indirect
employment to more than 2.93 million people, or 10 percent of the UK workforce (Keynote,
2014). About 280,000 large and small businesses operate in this sector (IBISWorld, 2014). The
global recession of 2007-2008 and its aftermath, forced the industry to stagnate and contract, and
more than 45.7 percent of businesses closed down (Barawas et al. 2013). Considering the huge
impact that the sector has on the economy, and the vital role it plays, the government has
constituted several bodies, which provide guidance and help on technical, financial, marketing,
and health and safety measures, to small and large firms (CIC, 2011). The focus of this paper is
on the health and safety measures, which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has drawn up to
provide a safe working environment for construction workers. This paper briefly discusses these
measures, and makes recommendations on changing the focus, and approach of these advisories.

2. ADVISORIES BY CONIAC
The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) has suggested several
significant measures and actions, which can help to increase the safety at construction sites.
These measures provide detailed guidance on many construction activities considered risky, and
include working at heights with scaffolding, handling pneumatic, hydraulic, welding, and electric
equipment, and other activities. If construction firms implement these advisories fully, the
construction sector in UK would indeed be a safe place (CONIAC, 2014). However, some flaws

are evident in the effective implementation of these measures, and these are discussed in the next
section.

3. GAPS AND FLAWS IN THE ADVISORIES AND SUGGESTED REMEDIAL MEASURES


The advisory by CONIAC ignores the fact, that about 93.2 percent of construction work
in UK is sub contracted to small contractors, and self-employed construction workers. These
small firms between 1-4 employees, and they do not have the funds to invest in expensive safety
equipment, nor do they have the time to develop an awareness of the risks (IBISWorld, 2014).
Large construction firms such as Balfour Beatty PLC, Carillion PLC, Morgan Sindall, Kier
Group PLC, and others, which take up construction of large projects, have a high safety record,
and an accident rate of less than 1.2 incidents per 100,000 person hours (Hartley & Cheyne,
2012). These firms follow the health and safety measures suggested by HSE, they maintain
detailed records of safety systems, and violations, and have full time safety officers, and they
provide adequate safety equipment to their direct employees, as well as sub contractors, working
on their project sites (Biggs et al. 2011).

The working conditions of thousands of small contractors, and self-employed


construction personnel, are less than satisfactory. Many of them operate without safety
equipment, in unsafe environments, and they do not have access to medical help (Li & Poon,
2013). Insurance firms do not extend insurance cover to these unorganised workers, since the sub
contractors do not implement the required health and safety systems. As a result, the reported

accident rate with partial or full disability in this sector is more than 99.3 incidents per 100,000
person hours (Wilkins, 2011).

The main question that now arises is 'who are the intended beneficiaries of the HSE, and
if the regulations do not protect poor workers in the organised sector, then what is the use of such
advisories?' Next section analyses this context in detail, and provides recommendations for
change.

4. RECOMMENDATION FOR CHANGE AND THE REASONS


The discussion in the previous sections, bring out the fact that the advisory from HSE
has very poor implementation possibility, and leaves out a large percentage of construction
workers from the unorganised field. This group of workers take up jobs such as demolishing and
removal of debris from old structures, removing and cleaning toxic Brownfield sites, cleaning up
asbestos debris from old structures, small welding works, and using high-powered pneumatic
drills to break rocky surfaces (Ismail et al. 2012). These are hazardous activities with a high risk
of injury, specialised protective equipment is needed, and safety measures must be followed.

The main problem with the CDN measures is that they are not binding on the clients, and
main contractors who issue work to small contractors. Hence, the feasibility of the
implementation is very low. The following actions are recommended to make the directives more
effective (Fung et al. 2010; Zhang et al. 2013).

Ensure that by law, all clients, and large contractors follow the regulations for the health and
safety of workers by providing a safe environment.

A risk management approach must be used, where all possible minor and major threats in
various types of construction activity are identified, and risk mitigation measures are drawn
up.

The HSE can consider providing protective gear to workers at concessional rates, and
provide adequate training to increase the awareness of the dangers at work.

Rather than have a central body to govern and administer the construction activity, HSE must
create smaller regional bodies, with minimal fees, and take up a drive to enrol small
construction workers. Regular meetings, exhibitions, and talks must be organised to increase
safety awareness.

Random audits must be carried out on small and large projects, the violations recorded, and
remedial measures suggested.

The above measures should not be taken with a view to penalise the unorganised workers, or
to stop them from working. Rather, these measures must be implemented to increase selfemployment, and to encourage workers to take up business and develop the UK economy.

5. CONCLUSIONS
It is clear from the above discussions that a gap exists between the intended policies and
regulations of HSE, and their implementation at the field level. While the policies are sound and
valuable, care is needed to ensure that the small construction worker benefits from the measures.
Considering the poor safety record of the unorganised construction sector, it becomes very

important that the policies do not remain on paper, but are implemented. The approach towards
wider adoption must be changed, and the recommendations focus on this need. Some of the
changes recommended include creating awareness among clients and the construction workers,
providing safety equipment at concessional rates, using safe practices while working and not
taking shortcuts to avoid safe practices, and decentralising the HSE activities.

REFERENCES

Barawas, M., Fleetwood, C., Folwell, K., Garrett, R. & Hacche, I. 2013. UK Construction: An
economic analysis of the sector. Accessed 10 October 2014 from
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210060/bis
-13-958-uk-construction-an-economic-analysis-of-sector.pdf

Biggs, H. C., Biggs, S. E., & Wishart, D. E., 2011. Construction safety: development of an
assessment tool to reduce risk on building sites. In Proceedings of 9th Industrial and
Organisational Psychology Conference, Aberdeen.

CIC, 2011. Client Leadership on Health & Safety. Accessed 10 October 2014 from
http://www.cic.org.uk/download.php?f=be2050-cic-bim2050-2014-1.pdf

CONIAC, 2014. Construction Industry Advisory Committee. Accessed 10 October 2014 from
http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/iacs/coniac/

Fung, I. W., Tam, V. W., Lo, T. Y., & Lu, L. L., 2010. Developing a risk assessment model for
construction safety. International Journal of Project Management, 28(6), pp. 593-600.

Hartley, R., & Cheyne, A., 2012. Safety culture in the construction industry. In Contemporary
Ergonomics and Human Factors 2012. Proceedings of the international conference on

Ergonomics & Human Factors 2012, Blackpool, UK, 16-19 April 2012, p. 295-299. CRC
Press: London.

Ismail, Z., Doostdar, S., & Harun, Z., 2012. Factors influencing the implementation of a safety
management system for construction sites. Safety science, 50(3), pp. 418-423.

Keynote, 2014. Construction Industry Market Review 2013. Keynote Market Research Report,
London.

Li, R. Y. M., & Poon, S. W., 2013. Effectiveness of Safety Measures in Reducing Construction
Accident Rates. Springer: Berlin Heidelberg.

IBISWorld, 2014. Commercial Building Construction in the UK: Market Research Report.
IBISWorld Market Research Report, London.

Wilkins, J. R., 2011. Construction workers perceptions of health and safety training
programmes. Construction Management and Economics, 29(10), pp. 1017-1026.

Zhang, S., Teizer, J., Lee, J. K., Eastman, C. M., & Venugopal, M., 2013. Building information
modelling (BIM) and safety: Automatic safety checking of construction models and
schedules. Automation in Construction, 29, pp. 183-195.