The CDM Regulations divert attention from the principal duties set out very clearly in Sections 1 to 9 of the principal act, each of which is governed by the phrase 'so far as is reasonably practicable'.
This diversion is such that prosecutions of companies can be pursued by reference to alleged deficiencies in meeting the requirements of the Regulations without reference to the principal act, and whether or not such deficiency was actually the principal or only contributory cause of the accident.
There are no duties on employees other than on the designer or the planning supervisor. They are not even required to read the contents of the Health and Safety file made available to them, but the employer has a duty to make sure that the employees comply with what's in it, so that the employee escapes altogether if the prosecution is confined to the somewhat easier (and more palatable) task of proving breaches of the Regulations.
The Regulations themselves do nothing directly to prevent accidents. They do nothing more than to provide for the costly production of bulky paperwork in prescribed forms and content and to require reasonable care in making appointments.
GL Ackers (F), 75 Ocean Court, Richmond Walk, Plymouth, Devon PL1 4QA