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Written by
on 12 August 2009


CDM Designer Risk Register for you (Free)

A CDM Designers Risk Register is to be regarded as a management tool for the identification and elimination/reduction of hazards and risks associated with the de project. The Designers Risk register can be used to create a single document where all significant design risks can be identified, collated, monitored and ultimately reduced as part of the design process. At the end of the design process, the register will provide an audit trail of design decisions.

All CDM designers are required to analyse their designs as they develop and identify any significant hazards associated with them. As significant hazards are identified they will be added to the risk register and the relevant actions taken to reduce or eliminate the associated risks will be recorded.

As each significant hazard is reduced to its lowest practicable level, the remaining hazard and any identified control measures will be logged and subsequently communicated to Contractors via the Pre-Construction Health and Safety Information and to the end user by the Health and Safety File.

Click here to request a Designers Risk Register template

CDM Designers Risk Register its Purpose and Approach

This process describes how H&S, and when appropriate environmental issues, are taken into account as an integral part of the design process for construction projects, so that:

where reasonably practicable, design measures are taken to avoid or eliminate identified risks details of significant residual risks are communicated at the appropriate time to those who need to know progress and outputs are monitored and reviewed compliance with the CDM Regulations can be demonstrated and is auditable

Below is how to use a Designers Risk Register

List the construction activities comprising the design package or project element.
Identify the hazards and associated harmful events for each activity, package or element.
Assess the identified risks (pre-design) – Assume no design mitigations or site controls are in place when assessing the risk.

The CDM designer must always look for opportunities to avoid or mitigate risks even when the risks are considered to be normal to the type of work. Many such risks still have a high associated incident/accident rate despite being ‘well known’

A simple qualitative assessment of High, Medium or Low is all that is needed. A H/H assessment indicates a very high priority for the design to be altered. At the other end of the scale a L/L result indicates a low priority for an alteration.

Health and Safety Design Assumptions.

Record any assumptions critical to the design risk control measures taken and outline the controls that others will need to implement to ensure safe working
Information/assumptions critical to safety must be recorded, eg requirements for stability before structure/installation is complete.

The data captured is more to show that the contractor has not been left with an impossible problem and that provision has been made for a safe system of work, than it is to tell the contractor what to do in detail.

In practice there may be instances where there is ‘no reasonably practicable’ design measure that can be adopted to avoid, or reduce an identified risk (if this is the case then this is noted in the CDM Design risk register). However, it is not permitted to pass on a risk that cannot be controlled by site/implementation measures during construction or subsequent cleaning or maintenance etc.

Significant Residual Risk

Review risks (post design) and identify ‘significant residual risks’ for communication to those who need to know.

The significance of a residual risk depends on whether it is reasonable to assume that a competent contractor would expect to encounter the hazard. Eg ‘work at height’ is likely to stay a high ‘severity’ risk but will not necessarily need to be highlighted in the Plan. On the other hand a risk that has a low likelihood/severity will still need to be communicated if the contractor is likely to be unaware of it, such as when the risk is site- or project-specific or the risk is likely to be difficult to manage in practice.

If a risk has been reduced to as low a level as reasonably practicable and the residual risk is not significant then the risk can be closed-out in the risk register.

Residual risks may also be highlighted in the register in order to signify their status and highlight those requiring particular attention by contractors. For example, a residual risk that is ‘significant’ (ie unusal, unexpected, adbnormal or difficult) but which can nevertheless be controlled on site by standard best practice, such as method statements, permits etc is highlighted as Blue.

A significant residual risk that will require particular attention over and above standard best practice is highlighted in say red. ‘Non-significant’ risks should not be highlighted, eg in say green, because to do so might imply that no site controls etc are required. This may not necessarily be the case if the risk, such as ‘work at height’, although usual and expected is still a major hazard requiring proper site controls.

Note – Do not rely upon measures that will be taken on site to control hazards, always seek to alter the design.

CDM Designers Competence

It is assumed that all CDM Designers are familiar with:

  • their duties under the CDM Regulations
  • the principles of design risk assessment/management
  • relevant construction/maintenance processes and associated H&S risks

Click here to request a Designers Risk Register template

For a CDM Designers Risk Register Template please contact us


David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.


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