So, the Tories didn’t want to scrap the CDM regulations after all. Our health and safety reporter squeezed into the parliamentary debate and ended up wondering quite what he, and everybody else, was doing there.
There was barely a seat to be found at the parliamentary debate on CDM regulations this morning. Indeed, myself and a CIC official had to wait outside until an attendant could find us a place.
Luckily, I was found a seat just in time to hear Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer mention an article I wrote in Building when the debate was announced. In it, I wrote that the opposition was expected to vote against the regulations, and Ms Kramer expressed bafflement that now they said they would do no such thing. In fairness, it was never likely that they would shoot down the legislation, but as their Leader had called for the CDM regs to be annulled, it wasn’t an unfair assertion to make.
Still, it was nice to be name-checked in the Commons. After my brief cameo in Multiplex vs. Honeywell (see Hansom for more details), it seems as if a career on Building really gets your name out there.
Labour MP Ann McGuire took the floor and got the biggest laugh of the debate by quoting the Bible, of all things. Deuteronomy 22:8 reads “when thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence”. McGuire joked that “health and safety has clearly been a concern for a long time”. Even Moses is in support of the regulations.
In the end, Moses, the ministers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all agreed they were in support of the regulations and the assembled throng could be forgiven for being a little baffled as to why this debate was even happening.
One-off clients may not understand their new responsibilities, but surely the whole point of changing the regulations is so that they have extra incentive to find out about them. Health and safety isn’t just a regulatory burden – it helps to save lives. That may sound obvious, but by getting wound up in the political spin machine the message is in danger of getting lost.
Thankfully the regulations are now out of the Commons and on building sites across the country where they belong, and this whole silly story is finally over.