THE Health and Safety Executive intends to launch a crackdown on demolition firms working on short-term projects.
Under the present regulations, contractors only notify schemes to the HSE if they continue for more than 30 days. If the proposals are implemented, companies will be required to notify the HSE regardless of projects' duration.

The recommendations will be included in an HSE discussion document to be published in May that will draw together the ideas that emerged at a safety conference, called Working Well Together, last November.

David Keane, president of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, said the step would improve safety. He said he had been calling for the changes for some time and that after a recent meeting with the HSE he was hopeful that the regulations would be updated.

Steve Wright, the HSE's head of construction policy management, is drafting the discussion document, which has the working title Revitalising Construction.

He confirmed that demolition regulations would be reviewed.

Wright said the main emphasis of the document would be on changing the culture of construction and on workforce competence.

He added that more detailed forms for investigating construction accidents might be introduced by the HSE.

The document is expected to review the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations with the aim of making them more enforceable and easier to use. He said Sir John Egan's strategic forum was working on changes to these rules.

It will also report on the progress of pilot schemes for roving safety representatives, which are due to begin next month.

One set of regulations that will be addressed separately are those dealing with falls. These have been the subject of a European Commission directive, and will be implemented by means of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Revitalising Construction: A sneak preview

  • Demolition contractors to notify the Health and Safety Executive of all projects, regardless of length
  • Emphasis to be placed on changing culture of industry and employee competence
  • More detailed forms to be used for reporting accidents in the construction sector
  • Review of CDM Regulations
  • Assessment of “roving reps” pilot schemes