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    Health and safety in the Construction Industry

    Published on April 22nd, 2021 | by Sophie West

    The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) come into force in Great Britain on 6 April 2015. They set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves from harm and anyone the work affects.

    What information is there to help me comply with CDM 2015:

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced guidance on the regulations named, Managing health and safety in construction L153. This may be downloaded from the HSE website. This publication provides guidance on the legal requirements for CDM 2015 and is available to help anyone with duties under the Regulations. It describes the law that applies to the whole construction process on all construction projects, from concept to completion and what each duty holder must or should do to comply with the law to ensure projects are carried out in a way that secures health and safety.


    CDM duty holders who are they? and a brief summary of their role/main duties:


    Clients are organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out.

    Summary of role/main duties

    Make suitable arrangements for managing a project.

    This includes making sure: other duty holders are appointed; sufficient time and resources are allocated. Make sure: relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders; the principal designer and principal contractor carry out their duties; that welfare facilities are provided.

    Domestic clients

    Domestic Clients are people who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not.

    Summary of role/main duties

    Domestic Clients duties are normally transferred to: the contractor, on a single contractor project; or; the principal contractor, on a project involving more than one contractor. However, the domestic client can choose to have a written agreement with the principal designer to carry out the client duties.


    Designers are those, who as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work.

    Summary of role/main duties

    When preparing or modifying designs, to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction; and the maintenance and use of a building once it is built.  Provide information to other members of the project team to help them fulfil their duties.

    Principal Designers

    Principal Designers are designers appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. They can be an organisation or an individual with sufficient knowledge, experience, and ability to carry out the role.

    Summary of role/main duties

    Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project. This includes: identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks; ensuring designers carry out their duties.

    Prepare and provide relevant information to other duty holders. Provide relevant information to the principal contractor to help them plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase.

    Principal contractors

    Principal contractors are contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor.

    Summary of role/main duties

    Plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase of a project. This includes: liaising with the client and principal designer; preparing the construction phase plan; organising cooperation between contractors and coordinating their work.

    Ensure: that suitable site inductions are provided; reasonable steps are taken to prevent unauthorised access; workers are consulted and engaged in securing their health and safety; and welfare facilities are provided.


    Contractors are those who do the actual construction work and can be either an individual or a company.

    Summary of role/main duties

    Plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety.

    For projects involving more than one contractor, coordinate their activities with others in the project team – in particular, comply with directions given to them by the principal designer or principal contractor. For single-contractor projects, prepare a construction phase plan.


    Workers are the people who work for or under the control of contractors on a construction site.

    Summary of role/main duties

    They must: be consulted about matters which affect their health, safety and welfare; take care of their own health and safety and others who may be affected by their actions.

    They must report anything they see which is likely to endanger either their own or others’ health and safety; cooperate with their employer, fellow workers, contractors and other duty holders.


    Other regulations that apply to construction:

    Other health and safety regulations also apply to construction. For example, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (see for more information).

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