Domestic Project Principal Contractor receives custodial sentence

Outsource Safety LtdSafety newsDomestic Project Principal Contractor receives custodial sentence
May 15, 2018 Posted by Roger Hart

With the CDM Regulations now in place since 2015 most people should have a pretty good understanding of what they are, how they affect them and what to do to comply with them…. shouldn’t they? Not every domestic project principal contractor is….

Well, this isn’t really the case and the most difficult duty holders to reach are those contractors working for domestic clients under projects which are now affected by CDM.

The Domestic Project Principal Contractor

These domestic projects have fallen outside of the CDM Regulations for many years since their first appearance in 1995 they didn’t cover this type of project and it was only in 2015 that domestic projects fell into scope. What does this mean?  Well, it means that pretty much any project which involves more than one contractor is now under CDM.  Having a bathroom updated?  Have a plumber and a builder?  Well, that is a CDM Project.

Duties of the Domestic Client under CDM 2015

This is an easy one for us.  As a pure domestic client, everything falls to others in the supply chain.  An architect would be the Principal Designer, any contractor taking on the work will be a Principal Contractor under the CDM regulations.  The client doesn’t have any of the duties associated with a commercial CDM Client (more on which in our earlier blog post here; The client’s duties under CDM 2015 – are you complying? ).

In this case, the Principal Contractor was constructing a dormer extension and poor planning led to an accident which left a worker with life-threatening injuries which included traumatic brain injury.. The workman was on the roof to the side of the dormer extension when he fell almost 8 metres down to the paving below.  The reason he was on the roof in an unprotected area was to install weather proofing to protect the dormer from the ingress of rain.

HSE Inspectors found that the scaffolding erected at site did not extend fully across the area and that the Principal Contractor JD Riley had failed to ensure suitable and sufficient measure were in place to prevent a person falling a distance which was likely to cause personal injury.

James D Riley (Trading as JD Riley) – of Fox and Hounds House, Tockwith Road, Long Marston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has received an 8 month sentence, suspended for 2 years, a compensation order for £5000 plus £2000 in costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented:

“Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

In this case, by putting in place measures to prevent falls from the roof edge by providing a scaffold platform under the area of works, could have removed the danger of falling.”

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