Designers seem to ignore their responsibilities under CDM regulations, in that they should be designing out risk wherever possible.

A fact highlighted in the National Audit Office report Improving Health and Safety in the Construction Industry, published May 2004. A dozen window cleaners die each year through falls and many more private householders are hospitalised because they fell while cleaning windows. If all windows, above the ground floor were equipped with reversible frames then this risk would be eliminated. Falls, both during and after construction, would also be eliminated if pitched roofs were designed as flat with internal access and permanent edge protection. Additional environmental benefits would then accrue it they subsequently incorporated a green roof. Unfortunately John Prescott’s own department does not understand CDM; if they did, many more prosecutions would be taking place.

John E Medlock, via email