CDM Regulations In The Event Industry

Well a real bombshell was dropped when it was announced by the Health and Safety Executive that CDM Regulations will be enforced on the events and entertainment industry from April 2015, it was confirmed at Thursdays meeting of the Joint Advisory Committee on Entertainment at HSE, Mary Sumner House, Westminster. The following report has been produced by members of SAGE (Safety Advisors Group in Entertainment).

This was an unexpected turn of events as it had appeared earlier this year that a “BEA” (Business Engagement Assessment) industry impact assessment process engaging with the event industry trade associations may have led to a decision not to enforce. But HSE stated that they had since received legal advice that not enforcing would breach European law and expose the government to international prosecution.

For anyone not familiar – CDM (Construction Design and Management Regulations) is a piece of health and safety law being updated in April of next year. To date, HSE has chosen not to enforce the current law on the events and entertainment industry because it didn’t fit, however the new, somewhat simplified version will it now seems be enforced after some two years of discussion. The main concerns surround some construction-centric management roles and responsibilities that it is feared may be difficult to map across to our sectors and may lead to enhanced liabilities for some.

We do not know how and to what extent the regulations will be enforced, CDM is not just about structures, its also about management systems, the way events are planned and sites are managed and that may get complicated for event organisers who do not understand construction-concentric management roles and small, armature event organisers who do not follow or understand normal event production methodology and terminology and it could sort the men from the boys but the large established promoters should have now real problems. In theory CDM could be applied to every event including charity events, music events, sporting events, theatre, film and TV, weddings, social occasions, product launches, childrens parties, meetings, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions etc. both indoor an out. It could seriously affect just about everyone in the industry.

Good news is that the Executive confirmed that enforcement activity on the industry will be “outcome focused” until guidance has clarified this type of detail. Industry representatives will be approached in the near future with regards to helping put that guidance together so we will need a we need a broad church of industry representatives to write the guidance to the regulations with and for the HSE; this guidance will cover the 5 strands of entertainment TV&Film, Venues, Theatre, Outdoor Events and the Voluntary/Charity/Church sectors. The guidance needs the input of business leaders supported by the safety community, everything we write will have a cost and it is felt sure that there will be a lot more to come so the concern is that due to the potentially vast cost in implementation for entertainment that we need business to lead and not safety professionals.

One thing is certain, this is a very important subject we are going to hear a lot more of.

Complying with the CDM 2015 Regulations in the entertainment sector – a set of key principles.

By their very nature these principles are high level and will be underpinned by practical guidance.


1. The current and proposed CDM Regulations implement a European directive, which does not permit exceptions for particular types of construction work, including erection and dismantling of temporary structures for TV, film and theatre productions and live events, wherever it is carried out. The definition of construction work is broad and encompasses a wide range of activity in the entertainment sectors from high to low risk work.

2. HSE has had a policy of not actively enforcing the current CDM Regulations in the entertainment industry, but we have been advised that a blanket policy of not enforcing regulations in a particular sector is unlawful.


3. HSE recognises that existing risk management systems within TV, film and theatre productions and live events differ significantly from those in traditional construction procurement. HSE also recognises that these existing systems have the potential to achieve the equivalent health and safety outcomes to the CDM 2015 Regulations.

4. HSE’s current risk-based and proportionate approach to enforcement will be applied to the CDM 2015 Regulations in the entertainment sector. HSE will continue to focus on health and safety outcomes. In practical terms this means that duty holders who currently have effective arrangements in place to manage risks arising from construction activities will need to do little more to comply with CDM 2015 Regulations. This approach will be guided and supported by HSE’s Enforcement Policy Statement, Enforcement Management Model and the BIS Regulators Code.

Implementation and Guidance

5. HSE recognises that the level of risk to those working in most parts of the entertainment sector is often low in comparison to traditional construction sectors. HSE’s intervention strategy will continue to reflect this.

6. To provide clarity and assurance to the entertainment industry about what proportionate compliance with the CDM 2015 Regulations should look like, HSE will also develop operational guidance for its inspectors and local authority officers, which reflects this approach.

7. The BEA process has already proved helpful in demonstrating where guidance is needed to improve understanding of action needed to meet CDM requirements. We will take a pause in the BEA process while we establish a shared understanding of what proportionate compliance with CDM should look like.

8. HSE will support the industry in finding ways to achieve compliance without incurring unnecessary cost.

9. Development of this regulatory approach and practical guidance for duty holders and inspectors is not time bound by the implementation date of the CDM 2015 Regulations. During this development period HSE and the entertainment sector should continue to focus on health and safety outcomes.

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