Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A Short Guide to CDM Regulations for Event Operations Managers May 2015

1      The Legal Position


Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) came into force on 6th April 2015 and apply to all ‘construction’ which now includes all event build up and break down activities including shell scheme erection.  It only applies in the UK. 


It should be noted that at the time of publishing this document the HSE had only published event industry guidance in draft and aeo organisers have yet to formalise a common industry approach.  This should therefore be regarded as interim guidance subject to review as common practices develop.


CDM is an important piece of criminal law and so it needs to be taken seriously, however the HSE have been clear that they will not prosecute or take enforcement action against event companies which are compliant with the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) and other relevant legislation and are manifestly discharging their existing duties of care.  The vulnerability for organisers here is where contractors and exhibitors working on site are not compliant with HASAWA and related law.

2      Roles and Responsibilities


The HSE guidance to CDM is L153 which can be obtained from the HSE website.  The HSE has in addition published guidance with organograms for the events industry which show how the various duties apply.  At the time of writing these documents were still in draft.  For most practical purposes at exhibition and conferences the organiser assumes the key roles which are as follows:


·         The ‘Client’ – the party on whose behalf the event is being run although this could be an external body like a trade body who commissions a professional organiser to run the event.  Essentially it is the owner of the event.  These duties will normally rest with the head of the event portfolio such as the MD or portfolio MD.

·         ‘The ‘Principal Designer’ (PD) – is the party responsible for the overall concept.  Essentially this is the event director/manager or equivalent.

·         The ‘Principal Contractor’ (PC) - is the party responsible for delivering the construction phase and this is the operations team.


For small events it could be that one person takes on more than one role or even all of them.


It is fundamental to CDM that the Client takes overall responsibility for health and safety.  It indicates that senior management will have to take a more proactive role in health and safety to ensure that they can have complete faith in the PC (operations team) to deliver on health and safety and that they have the necessary resources to do so.  Venues within tenanted areas under CDM become a ‘Contractor’ supplying services to the Client so CDM may also mean that the operations team receives less proactive support from the venues on health and safety issues. 


It will have to be determined on an event by event basis the extent to which either venues or organisers have the primary duties under CDM for external roads and common areas which may be shared with other users not related to the event.


Exhibitors with large or complex stands are seen as essentially having their own mini CDM site within the context of the whole site with their own Client, PD and PC.  For practical purposes, unless there is specific guidance on this, most organisers should continue to manage and check stands as they currently do.

3      Application of CDM During Build Up and Break Down

3.1   HSE’s Key Principles


The draft HSE’s guidance states that the key principles to managing construction safety are as follows:


·         eliminate or control risks so far as is reasonably practicable

·         ensure work is effectively planned

·         appointing the right people and organisations at the right time

·         making sure that everyone has the right information, instruction, training and supervision to carry out their work safely and without risks to health

·         have systems in place to help parties cooperate and communicate with each other and coordinate their work

·         consult workers with a view to securing effective heath safety and welfare measures

·         any actions required should always be sensible and proportionate to the risk.


None of the above is in addition to exiting duties under HASAWA.  The HSE have emphasised that they will take a proportionate approach to enforcement and will not seek compliance for its own sake where the key principles have been applied.

3.2   Notification to HSE

A project is notifiable if the construction work on a construction site is scheduled to:


(a) last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or

(b) exceed 500 person days


There will be a form for notifying the HSE published in the guidance.


The vast majority of events will probably not be notifiable.  Even so the HSE has stated that notification is not an issue.  It will be left to the Client to decide whether or not an event is notifiable and whether or not to combine the build and break down to trigger the threshold or to treat each separately.  The HSE will not take action for failure to notify.  In the short term unless the event is quite obviously notifiable it is reasonable to wait for the events industry to develop a position on this.

3.3   Construction Phase & Construction Phase Safety Plan


The construction phase need not necessarily overlap exactly the build up and break down phase where CDM site conditions apply.  The most obvious example is where on the final day of build, construction type controls such as the wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be relaxed as construction activities make way for non-construction work such as cleaning and stand dressing.  Operations teams should think about formalising this into the Construction Phase Safety Plan (CSP).


The CSP is a specific legal requirement under CDM and operations teams should prepare a CSP.  A suggested outline format is as follows:


Name of Event and Venue
Principal Contractor details
This would normally the legal entity which is the organiser – not individuals
Client Details
This would normally be the legal entity which is the organiser – not individuals or the ultimate client if the event is not owned by the organiser
Principal Designer Details
This would normally be the legal entity which is the organiser – not individuals
Description of Work/Event
Brief overview
Key dates (start/finish/other)
Build, Breakdown and indication if the construction phases are different e.g. the construction phase ending on the last day of build.
Key roles in the Event/Operations team
A organogram should suffice
How the work will be managed safely
Include details of the site rules, arrangements for daily briefing/update/coordination meetings, site inductions, welfare facilities, fire and emergency procedures and,
arrangements for the control of specific risk (such as falls from height, collapse of structures, crane operations, heavy lifting etc)


The CSP is not the Event Safety File per se but would be included within it (see below).

3.4   Health and Safety File


This is a specific legal requirement.  The health and safety file as defined by L153 is ‘a file appropriate to the characteristics of the project, containing relevant health and safety information to be taken into account during any subsequent project’.  Unless further guidance or direction is given this may be deemed to be the Event Safety File which is normal event best practice and would now include the CSP as above.

3.5   Site Access Control and Site Induction


The aim of CDM is to ensure that only persons who are deemed to be competent (i.e having the necessary skills, knowledge and experience) with regard to working on a construction site are permitted to gain access during the construction phase.


Operations teams need to ensure that all potential occupants during the construction phase (i.e. not necessarily during late build and opening morning if construction activity ends prior to the end of build up) have received the site safety rules and that site access during the construction phase is restricted to the following:


·         Organiser’s staff

·         Venue staff assigned to the event

·         Accredited contractors’ staff (note this includes venue contractors)

·         Exhibitors and Exhibitors’ Contractors.

3.6   Key Risks and Site Rules


At present the eGuide should be regarded as the template for general site rules at exhibitions and similar events.  Over time it is likely that the guide will be amended by the AEV to reflect new best practice compliant with CDM.  There are three areas which the HSE has identified as warranting special attention which are:


·         Work at heights and in particular working on live edges

·         Control of moving vehicles and in particular the separation of pedestrians from close proximity with moving vehicles

·         Wearing of PPE


These areas should be targeted for improvement until specific industry guidance is produced.  It should be anticipated that the wearing of high visibility vests and safety shoes during the construction phase is likely to become a standard industry requirement.