Site welfare in the spotlight following revised CDM regulations

Revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) which came into force in April 2015 have placed much greater emphasis on the requirements of welfare facilities on construction sites.

The new regulations require all sites, regardless of size, to ensure that the facilities on site are appropriate for the type of work taking place and there are enough for the number of workers. The legal responsibility of these regulations is shared between the client and contractor. If a project involves more than one contractor, the responsibility lies jointly with the client and principal contractor.

The client needs to include details of the welfare arrangement in their pre-construction information, they must also ensure construction work does not start unless they are satisfied that the correct welfare facilities are in place.

The regulations state that if a construction project is on or next to the client’s premises and permission has been granted, then those facilities can be used, otherwise portable amenities should be set up by contractors.

The positioning of welfare facilities should be carefully considered, they will need to be provided at a central location that is accessible within a reasonable distance.

In order to comply with the revised regulations clients and contractors should ensure that from the first day on site workers can easily access;

  • clean drinking water;
  • washing facilities – hot and cold running water, soap or other cleaning agents, and towels or other methods of drying hands;
  • hot water ; and
  • toilets – effective ventilation, separate male and female facilities where possible, otherwise lockable toilets.

There also needs to be suitable facilities for taking breaks, having meals, and for storing and changing clothes.

The Health and Safety Executive have published the latest frequently asked questions regarding CDM, which can be viewed here.