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Competence and resources under CDM

Duty holders' responsibilities

The requirements under CDM 2007 to assess the competence of any duty holders should focus on the needs of the particular project and be proportionate to the risks, size and complexity of the work.

No person who is a duty holder under CDM 2007 should appoint or engage a CDM co-ordinator, designer, principal or contractor unless they have taken reasonable steps to ensure that they are competent (regulation 4(1)(a)).

No person can accept an appointment as a duty holder under CDM 2007 unless they are competent (regulation 4(1)(b)).

No person who is a duty holder under CDM 2007 should arrange for or instruct anyone (whether employed or self-employed) to carry out or manage design or construction work unless they are competent or are under the supervision of a competent person (regulation 4(1)(c)).

The assessment of competence should be particular and appropriate to the project being planned. For simple low risk projects, only minimal checks are needed. There is no need to repeat checks where relevant evidence exists following recent similar work.

In most cases, demonstration of a successful track record on health and safety aspects on similar work should be sufficient indication of competence.

Refer to paragraphs 193-201 of the Approved Code of Practice (L144) for more details on duty holders' responsibilities for assessing competence under CDM 2007.

Assessing competence

Assessment of the competence of organisations (including principal contractors, contractors, designers and CDM co-ordinators) should be carried out in a structured manner as a 2-stage process:

  • Stage 1 - assessment of the company's organisation and arrangements for health and safety to determine whether these are sufficient to enable them to carry out the work safely and without risk to health.
  • Stage 2 - assessment of the company's experience and track record to establish that it is capable of doing the work, that it recognises its limitations and how these should be overcome and that it appreciates the risks from doing the work and how these should be tackled.

In the interests of consistency, a set of core criteria have been agreed by industry and HSE. These are set out in Appendix 4 of the Approved Code of Practice (L144), and should be used in carrying out competence assessments.

See paragraphs 206-212 of ACoP L144 for more details of how to assess the competence of organisations.

Assessment of the competence of key individuals within an organisation should be carried out in an equivalent 2-stage structured manner, using the criteria set out in element 5 of Appendix 4 of ACoP L144.

See paragraphs 216-240 of ACoP L144 for more details of how to assess the competence of individuals.


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