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letters Code should recognise where blame really lies

  • Comment

The Court of Appeal was right to exonerate Paul Wurth from the tragic accident which befell Ralph Harrison (aj 6.4.00). It is important to maintain a distinction between those who prepare designs and those who arrange for them to be prepared. There is no 'hole' in the cdm Regulations in this respect. Indeed it was somewhat naive of the Health and Safety Executive to prosecute Wurth in the first instance.

I understand that the hse is reviewing the Code of Practice attached to the regulations and not the regulations themselves. It would be helpful if they clarified this distinction. A competent designer behaves properly if he acknowledges that he does not have the skills to design, for instance, a lift installation and subcontracts this responsibility to a reputable manufacturer.

In checking and even approving the lift manufacturer's drawings he does not become responsible for the design. It lies outside his competence. It is the lift company that prepares the design and is responsible for it. In the event of a failure it is they who stand the risk of prosecution. The revised code should make this clear.

Tom Jestico, Jestico + Whiles. London NW1

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