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An ACoP by any other name

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
15th March 2016
Bricklaying brick wall

In recent debates there are two side to the argument for the introduction of a New Approved Code of Practice (ACoP)  for the recently updated CDM Regulations 2015. 

The view held by the by the regulators since the Lofstedt Review of health and safety regulations in 2012 is that any additional ACoPs should be shown to add value, be considerably shorter and be ‘signposting’ in nature – and it is against these measures that the need for a new CDM ACOP is now being determined. 

As part of the consultation process relating to CDM the  Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) reported that the majority of its members thought that the CDM regulations were already well established and that an ACOP would not add any value.

It added that an ACOP would not meet the needs of SMEs, and would be confusing for smaller dutyholders and domestic clients. In addition, it was thought that the general inflexibility of an ACOP could block progress because the lengthy process associated with any amendments would not respond quickly enough to changes in practice and innovation as they became available.

The problem that most duty holder face is the lack of clarity offered by the guidance on specific topic like the competency required when offering a job to an individual or organisation. The Previous ACOP would give a clear and concise series of questions to ask to decide on the suitable candidate whereas the existing Guidance L153 only make reference to the fact that an individuals/organisations to have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and capability to undertake a role.

In practice therefore this can now be seen as being a very grey area and until test cases emerge, the lack of an ACOP offering examples or a more defined application means the task of assessing who to employ for a specific task is very difficult and open to interpretation. 

In closing many duty holders are left asking is really the time to be without an ACOP, given the expansion of CDM and the numbers of fatalities and accidents still affecting the construction industry. 

The jury is well and truly out and the construction industry is awaiting the first CASE STUDY with baited breaths.