CDM2007 requires an assessment of the competence of organisations and individuals engaged or appointed under CDM2007. This specifically relates to those appointed as CDM co-ordinators; designers; principal contractors and contractors.
To be competent, an organisation or individual must have:-
(a) Sufficient knowledge of the specific tasks to be undertaken and the risks which the work will entail;
(b) Sufficient experience and ability to carry out their duties in relation to the project; to recognise their limitations and take appropriate action in order to prevent harm to those carrying out construction work, or those affected by the work.
All those with duties under CDM2007 must satisfy themselves that businesses that they engage or appoint are competent. This means making reasonable enquiries to check that the organisation or individual is competent to do the relevant work and can allocate adequate resources to it.
Those taken on to do the work must also be sure that they are competent to carry out the required tasks before agreeing to take on the work.
For notifiable projects, a key duty of the CDM co-ordinator is to advise clients about competence of designers and contractors, including the principal contractor that they engage.
Doing an assessment requires you to make a judgement as to whether the organisation or individual has the competence to carry out the work safely. If your judgement is reasonable, taking into account the evidence that has been asked for and provided, you will not be criticised if the organisation you appoint subsequently proves not to have been competent to carry out the work.
Competency assessments of organisations (including principal contractors, contractors, designers and CDM co-ordinators) should be carried out as a two-stage process.
Stage 1: An 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: An assessment of the company’s experience and track record to establish that it is capable of doing the work; it recognises its limitations and how these should be overcome and it appreciates the risks from doing the work and how these should be tackled.
In order to provide more consistency in the way in which competency assessments of companies are carried out, a set of ‘core criteria’ have been agreed by industry and HSE.
CDM co-ordinators; designers; principal contractors and contractors will need to meet the standards set out in the competence core criteria table given below.
Column 1 of the table lists the elements which should be assessed when establishing whether or not a company is competent for the work which it will be expected to do. Column 2 lists the standards against which the assessment should be made. Column 3 gives some examples of how a company might demonstrate that it meets these standards.
Companies do not have to produce all of the evidence listed in Column 3 to satisfy the standard- they simply need to produce enough evidence to show that they meet the standard in Column 2, taking account of the nature of the project and the risks which the work entails.
This requires you to make a judgement as to whether the evidence provided meets the standard to be achieved. If your judgement is reasonable, and clearly based on the evidence you have asked for and been provided with, you will not be criticised if the company you appoint subsequently proves not to be competent when carrying out the work.
Remember that competence assessments should focus on the needs of the particular job and should be proportionate to the risks arising from the work. Unnecessary bureaucracy associated with competency assessment obscures the real issues and diverts effort away from them.
Download here > Competence and Resources Assessment Criteria Table