The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 have provided an excellent vehicle for Health & Safety communication for more than 10 years now. Spawned from an EU Temporary Workers Directive, they have been through a major revision (to the Approved Code of Practice) in the late 1990's and now a major rewrite. At our recent seminar we gave participants a sense of the new Regulations, whose introduction is anticipated next year. We have included an analysis of the expected changes below. The point is that the regulations in whatever form are here to stay. They will continue to provide a Health & Safety communications vehicle for years to come.
The longevity of the regulations is important in that it provides a stable platform to plan long term improvements in the way organisations communicate with each other. This includes how organisations assemble and share important information so that best practice is driven through their systems. If they can avoid duplication, then they can avoid waste too; waste of time and waste of resources. Processes invariably need supporting tasks and if the procedures are good ones, there will be a follow-up process to ensure that tasks are completed and reported on so that objectives can be seen to be met; not just alluded to.
Communication, then, is a key aspect to the process as is the feed back to ensure completion. This is what we mean by 'Joined Up Thinking'; getting all the parties involved working to common procedures, common templates for key documents, common project procedures & tasks for common projects.
Applying this thinking to organisations outside our direct control is always an issue. This is because we seldom have direct control (in a business sense) even though we may be working with partners and committed contractors. Unless we are able to 'hire and fire' the third parties, control over them seldom works in our favour. We do not have to go far for some prime examples of this. The every day experience in organisations is necessarily concerned with meeting that body's objectives. Survival in business including paying the wages, and 'getting the business' are two of the obvious drivers. The CDM Regulations, however, demand rather more than that, as many successful organisations know. Compliance and the cost of non compliance, are at the top of their agenda. There are ample examples of the cost of getting Health & Safety wrong, over and above injury and loss of life, when accidents happen.
The Joined Up Thinking campaign takes us into the wider, intra-organisational issues. Here, we need to promote a 'willingness' to communicate;
It would be good to think that the days of visiting sites which flout the wearing of hard hats and protective boots are behind us. But are Health & Safety Plans still measured by their weight rather than the value of contents? And where Health & Safety Files exist, are they kept up to date and actually used? Like all systems, they only work if people sign up to them and use them. This will only happen when the willingness to take part finally reaches its 'tipping point'; when the majority accept the thinking as the norm.
Within the London boroughs, however, there appears to be a prime example of how Joined Up Thinking can work. If you consider the common elements in a highways project in particular, the same CDM regulations apply to Transport for London who fund the projects and to the Boroughs who implement them and to the Contractors who work for each. Although contractually complex, the CDM process is simple enough where the parties involved communicate. That communication needs to happen up and down departments, across departments and across organisations in an organised manner. CDM could be the one issue that draws all of that activity together, to save countless paperwork, time, money, and through improved safety, lives.
We are actively discussing opportunities to promote 'Joined Up Thinking' within our major accounts. If you feel it is appropriate to involve your own organisation or simply require more information, please contact Ai Solutions in the first instance.
One month on and the Milton Keynes site has not changed much. The tower crane has gone but the site is still under investigation by the HSE. The Jury Hotel contractor's sign still proclaims the site to be open 'Summer 2006'.
The cost of failure, in human terms includes one fatality, and 2 major injuries plus the associated grief to the families involved. The cost to the site will presumably include delayed cash payments to the contractors, a loss of revenue to the hotel and profit to the shareholders. In addition, someone is highly likely to receive a prosecution and a fine or worse, in addition to more paperwork and more delays to the project. Several people somewhere will be agonising over the issues and potential outcomes. Stress will be high for an extended time.
And all this happened because...? The investigation, no doubt, will reveal all.
The next Major Accounts Review Meeting will be on 11 July 2006 and hosted by Transport for London. This is our quarterly User Seminar to review items of interest about the use and implementation of some of our larger software systems for CDM and Asbestos Management. The seminar provides an excellent opportunity for user organisations to network with each other on points of common interest.
The agenda for this session will include a presentation about the latest developments in our discussions about 'Joined Up Thinking' within the London Boroughs, TfL and their Service Providers. This is an area of significant interest and we look forward to the discussions that will follow. Organisations (not already invited) interested in taking part in the meeting should contact Ai Solutions in the first instance.
Our Partners, Callsafe have provided what is likely to become the definitive article on the proposed CDM2 Revisions. I know that at least two large organisations have already taken this article as a steering document and we have included it on our website as a general reference. Thank you Callsafe.
We regularly receive updates from our customers and contacts about changes to legislation, the latest rumours and so on. We try to be selective with what we pass on and acknowledge our sources as appropriate. If you have information of general interest in the Health & Safety, and particularly, CDM and Asbestos Management arena, then please let us know by e-mail if possible.