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The Health and Safety File, a client’s simple record of information for future use

A legal requirement of the CDM Regulations

The Health and Safety File(s) is a statutory document held by the client they are the means by which health and safety information is recorded and kept for future use at the end of a construction project.

The nature of information contained in the Health and Safety File is designed to alert those who are responsible for building of key health and safety risks that may be encountered on site, whilst providing ‘As-Built’ information and pertinent Operating and Maintenance Manuals.

Who is responsible for compiling the health and safety file information?

The Principal Designer is to compile the Health & Safety File or Principal Contractor if a Principal Designer is no longer involved. Information is to be supplied by Designers, Contractors and other parties to allow these to be complied within the given period. Our CDM Adviser can assist with preparing the Health and Safety File and help other members of the Design team to coordinate information as supplied.

It is not normally acceptable to provide only drawings and manuals. The Principal Designer is required to collect relevant health and safety information for handing over to the client at the time of Practical Completion.

The Health and Safety File holders responsibility

The Health and Safety File needs to be kept up-to-date and retained for as long as it is relevant – normally the lifetime of the structure.

It may be kept electronically (with suitable backup arrangements), on paper, on film, or any other durable form.  Where the Client disposes of his entire interest in the structure, they should pass the Health & Safety File to the new owners.

Where any part of the structure is sold, any relevant Health and Safety File information must be passed or copied to the new owner.

If the Client leases out all or part of the structure, arrangements need to be made for the Health & Safety File to be made available to the Leaseholders.

In some cases, the Client may transfer the file to the Leaseholder during the Lease period.  In other cases, it may be better for the Client to keep the Health & Safety File, but inform the Leaseholder that it is available.

If the Leaseholder acts as a Client for future construction projects, the Leaseholder and the original Client will need to make arrangements for the Health & Safety File to be made available to the Principal Designer.