Are you a principal contractor?
What you need to do
The law requires that principal contractors (PC) must undertake the following actions:
- Project management – plan, manage and monitor the construction phase so that it is carried out safely and without risks to health;
- Contractor engagement – provide information and directions whilst facilitating co-operation and co-ordination between contractors;
- Workforce engagement – make sure the workforce is being inducted, informed, trained and consulted on health and safety;
What you need to know – three key questions
Question 1: Which projects require appointment of a principal contractor?
Answer: The client must appoint a PC on projects that are likely to involve more than 30 days or 500 man days of construction work (notifiable projects). The client will carry the PC duties if a separate appointment is not made.
Question 2: When should the PC be appointed?
Answer: The client must appoint a PC as soon as practicable and at the latest before the construction phase starts.
Question 3: Who needs to be informed of the PC appointment?
Answer: The co-ordinator must inform HSE of the PC details as soon as practicable after the PC is appointed.
The PC must plan, manage and monitor the construction phase of the project.
Key actions include:
- Planning: preparing a construction phase plan that ensures the work is carried on without risk to health or safety;
- Implementing: arranging for the plan to be implemented including facilitating co-operation and co-ordination between all persons on the project;
- Reviewing: the PC must from time to time update, review, revise and refine the plan;
- Site access: taking steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site by fencing and other controls;
- Welfare facilities: making sure that facilities are sufficient throughout the construction phase;
- Site rules: drawing up rules that are appropriate to the site and the activities;
- Notification: displaying the required formal notice on site (F10) and;
- Design: liaising with the CDM co-ordinator regarding any design or change to a design;
The PC must ensure the co-operation and co-ordination of contractors carrying out the construction work. Key actions include:
- Time for planning: informing contractors of the minimum amount of time alllowed for their planning and preparation before their work begins;
- Consultation on the plan: consulting contractors before finalising relevant parts of the plan;
- Access to the plan: giving every contractor access to relevant parts of the plan and any other information needed to carry out their work safely and with proper welfare facilities;
- Directions: giving directions to contractors to enable the PC to comply with his own duties and;
- Health and safety file: letting contractors know what information is required for the file and providing it to the CDM-C.
Contractors must provide their workforce with the required information and training to carry out work safely. In addition, the PC must check this happens so that every worker is provided with:
- Induction: a suitable site induction on health and safety matters;
- Information and training: needed for the particular work to be carried out including information on risks and required control measures. Workers must be able to inspect and take copies of relevant information relating to project health and safety.
The PC must also take steps to secure:
- co-operation: arrangements so that workers can co-operate on devising safety measures and checking their effectiveness; and
- Consultation: arrangements to consult the workforce on health, safety or welfare matters where they have not been so consulted by any employer.