Most event companies appear to have got to grips with the new legislation. Our view has always been that the intricacies of CDM matter far less than the fact that it gives the HSE a direct mandate to regulate and enforce criminal law in event construction and so it has come to pass. Thus far, they have taken a light touch approach but that may be about to change. The HSE have been making pre-announced inspections of the build-up and break down of events. Whilst they have taken no official enforcement action, it is very clear that they view certain common practices and certainly work at height as being unacceptable. After one visit the HSE inspector cited 70% of what he saw as being ‘actionable misuse’. At the moment, we appear to be in a phase of dialogue between the HSE and the events and exhibitions industry whilst they formulate an approach. We may be given some time to bring about improvements but it is probably only a matter of time before they take legal action against poor practice that they regard as actionable. Work at height will definitely be a key issue for 2017 and a separate discussion paper is attached.
It is not clear at this stage whether the HSE will take action against offending contractors, exhibitors or the Client in the form of the organiser. Organisers should take note, however, there is a limit to the extent to which the HSE will tolerate endemic health and safety violations by contractors and exhibitors before they take issue with, the organiser. CDM places clear responsibility for overall site management on the organiser and senior management within the organiser’s structure. Heavy punitive action against event organisers will hurt everyone’s business including venues.