New CDM regulations came into force in October extending designers\' obligations to employees or others under their control.
The new regulations, the Construction (Design and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2000, address a decision by the Court of Appeal in which it accepted that if designers arranged for someone else to prepare a design, the employer did not have a duty under the CDM Regulations that came into force in 1994.
The ruling was contrary to the Health, Safety, Ethical & Environmental Commission\'s interpretation of the intention of the law, so the law has now been changed. The responsibility of the designer to build in safety now encompasses anyone working for the designer.
That does mean that designers could be responsible for ensuring detailed designs produced by specialist contractors incorporate the required level of safety.
However, the HSC believes that as long as the designer checks the specialist\'s work and takes some effort to ensure a competent specialist is being used, the designer should be safe from prosecution. The HSC adds that this might have to tested by the courts.