SMALL-SCALE construction projects will be less protected against accidents under the revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, health and safety experts warned this week.
Experts were concerned that when the revised CDM regulations come into force in April 2007, the size of the project for which health and safety plans have to be supplied to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will be raised.
'We have a fundamental concern that many more people in the industry are going to be put at risk by the new procedures and that many of those working in small to medium-sized projects will be less protected than they are now, ' said chief executive of the Association of Planning Supervisors Brian Law.
Under current regulations, health and safety plans have to be submitted to the HSE if the project is due to be on site for more than 30 days and use up more than 500 person hours, or involve more than five people.
Under the revised regulations, the five-person limit has been removed, effectively increasing the size of the project exempt from the regulations.
Law added that the regulations should have been reformed to require smaller projects that involved particular risks - such as demolition schemes - to submit health and safety plans.
A HSE spokesman acknowledged the concern, but said it was not realistic for the HSE to review health and safety plans of all construction projects. 'It would create a large amount of extra bureaucracy to the industry and for us, ' he said.
'We only have a nite amount of resources and have to prioritise where the biggest risks are.' l The new regulations will be debated at NCE's conference, Building Competency for CDM 2007, at Earls Court Conference Centre on 14 November. Find out more on www. nce-cdm. co. uk