I thought the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) required risk assessments, so why don’t I have to do specific design risk assessments?

Regulation 3(1) of MHSWR does require employers and the self-employed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to which their own employees are exposed at work, and also the risks arising out of, or in connection with, their work activity (eg designs) to which others may be exposed. The purpose of the risk assessment is to identify measures needed to comply with relevant health and safety law.

However, the risk assessment of a design should be integral to, and evolve with, the design work itself. Every design is different, and every design will require a degree of calculation, assessment, review and the proper exercise of judgement. If a designer is complying with regulation 11 of the CDM Regulations, then, as the design is worked through to completion, any hazards will be eliminated and residual risks (to those who may be affected by them) reduced, so far as is reasonably practicable. This is, in effect, the application of risk assessment to the design. There is no legal requirement for a risk assessment to be in writing or recorded, however, regulation 3(6)(a) of MHSWR does require the significant findings of the assessment to be recorded where an employer employs five or more people. In terms of design, the significant findings of the assessment will be the finished design, together with all relevant drawings and any accompanying notes.

Regulation 3(3) of MHSWR requires any assessment to be reviewed if no longer valid, or if there have been significant changes. Most design practices already do this by a systematic process of design review throughout the development of the design. Designers may choose to record the reasons why a design was modified or revised, so any subsequent designers are aware of what was decided.

Para 113 of the CDM 2007 ACoP, [L144](http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l144.htm) states that ‘compliance with regulation 11 of CDM 2007 will usually be sufficient for designers to achieve compliance with regulations 3(1), (2), and (6) of MHSWR as they relate to the design of the structure’.