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Lax schools face fines over CDM

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The TUC and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are pushing the government to fine architecture schools that fail to fully train students in the CDM Regulations.

The TUC has become increasingly infuriated about schools' 'failure to pay attention to these regulations'. Health and safety coordinator Tom Mellish told the AJ that many in the HSE believe this 'last resort' could be the only way of making them sit up and take note. 'I've been talking to schools of architecture about CDM for years and have got a very mixed response, ' he said. 'I've heard there is one school that teaches only eight hours over its whole course.'

Mellish said financial penalties are one of a series of measures being considered at the HSE as a way of increasing CDM education in schools. 'But, ' he said, 'there is a growing belief that this could be the only way to ram the message home'.Mellish said there is 'increasing frustration within the rest of the construction industry, because most contractors are taking health and safety seriously but architects and their schools still seem ambivalent'.

The RIBA has reacted to the proposal with horror.Vice-president for education Jack Pringle described the idea as 'outrageous and counterproductive'. He said there would be little point in penalising schools as it would 'simply lead to a vicious circle', leaving them less financially capable of training students at all. 'We all understand that the government and the HSE are keen to improve health and safety in construction, ' he said. 'But there are so many areas that schools have to teach and it seems daft to focus purely on the CDM regs.'

The HSE is on the verge of launching an offensive on the CDM regulations. The AJ revealed last month that the agency's inspectors are readying themselves for a series of unannounced inspections of architects both in their offices and on site.

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