Council Inspectors focus on CDM client duties – asbestos, fragility and RCS

HSE has published Local Authority (LA) Circular (LAC 67/2 (rev 8) which provides Local Authorities with guidance and tools for priority planning and targeting their interventions with businesses.

The guidance explains that although most construction work is regulated by HSE the LA health and safety regulators can make a significant contribution to addressing construction health and safety risks.

Where the owners/occupiers of commercial premises at general visits by LA Inspectors appear likely to be clients for construction work the authorities should “draw their attention to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015 and the duties they have as CDM clients, referring them to advice available”.

HSE priorities for CDM Clients

In addition, there are a number of specific topic areas which HSE want LAs to address during the course of their visits. These are outlined below:

  • Duty to manage asbestos

In premises likely to contain asbestos (i.e. built before 2000) LA health and safety regulators should draw dutyholder attention to the duty to manage asbestos and the relevant HSE guidance/webpages

  • Falls from height – work on/adjacent to fragile roofs/materials

Fragile roofs/skylights etc., can be found at many premises that fall to LAs for enforcement. Where they are identified during visits, LAs should discuss the associated risks, to ensure that prospective clients for repair and maintenance work (owner or building user) are aware of their duties under CDM 2015 and the precautions needed, referring them to the appropriate guidance.

  • Health risks – respirable silica dust

Dust, containing harmful respirable crystalline silica (RCS), can be generated during common operations such as block cutting, chasing brickwork and cutting concrete floors. The standards for controlling this dust are detailed in HSE guidance. During visits, LAs may come across minor construction work that is generating significant quantities of silica dust and and poor standards should be addressed with dutyholders.