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Health & Safety: The CDM2015 Regulations – at an Event Near You from 6th April 2015

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On 17th March, GMG hosted an event for a number of end clients and production managers from across the industry. The evening included a panel discussion with leading H&S advisors within the industry (Simon Garrett of X-Venture and Lee Holloway of Freeman) – covering how the impending CDM2015 legislation will affect events.

When we first shared our thoughts on CDM in January, we promised to keep you up-to-date so below we have outlined the main points raised during panel session.

It was agreed that this revised part of criminal law will be implemented, whether the industry likes it or not, although the PSA have put up a bold fight for the HSE to present a business case. It doesn't replace existing workplace regulations and purely seeks to deal with structuring the management chain during the planning and construction phases of an event.

It was evident that the phrase "Client is King" will gain new meaning now as they really will be responsible for every H&S aspect at all of their events – this includes all subcontracted work. It will be the responsibility of every client to ensure that every subcontractor working on an event adheres to their own H&S standards, ignorance will be no defence in court should an accident happen.

Venues are potentially approaching a difficult time, as they will be viewed in the same light as any other subcontractor. Whilst they will of course be best placed advise on and implement "house rules" it may well become the case that if their preferred suppliers aren't up to scratch then the client is under no obligation to use them. Conversely, an appointed production firm may be in the position to take on the role of Principal Contractor/Designer and subsequently gain sole control and responsibility of an area. It is unclear how this will be interpreted but certainly for traditional staff in their own place of work (such as a hotel) this could cause tensions to develop – particularly if the Client/Principal Contractor agreement hasn't been made clear throughout the supply chain.

Further to this, site inductions are specifically mentioned within the CDM2015 regulations (as they stem from the construction environment) so expect these to become a requirement in future.

Currently the HSE are only resourced for around 40 site visits per year, so, if anything, lack of enforcement will become the problem as venues, clients and contractors all interpret these regulations and their responsibilities individually.

We hope that the events industry is able to understand how these new requirements should be interpreted to ensure that everyone in the industry is able to work safely and with accountability; but fear it may just be further paperwork and knowledge for event planners to contend with – and with real weight in a criminal case should the worst happen.

Feedback during the networking after the panel session was positive, with many clients commenting on how they would like to see more of this kind of proactive event taking place and we at GMG plan to continue to share information on this subject as legislation moves forward.

Further Reading:

One of our panel members, Lee Holloway, has recently posted a
blog outlining his top 10 things to think about when it comes to CDM, specifically in the context of exhibitions.

Health & Safety Executive:

For further information contact:
John Gibson
T: +44 (0) 20 3713 0032
T: @TheGMGNetwork