95 CDM 2015 Prosecutions (Breaches, Fines And Prison Time) header image

25th January, 2019

95 CDM 2015 Prosecutions (Breaches, Fines And Prison Time)

There have been 95 prosecutions under CDM since the latest version came into force in 2015. 46 of those prosecutions occurred in 2018, which also saw the largest fine to date under CDM 2015 (£800,000) and the first prison sentence.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, often referred to as the CDM regulations, have been around for some time. However, it looks as though the HSE are becoming much more active in taking action against businesses found to be in breach of the regulations.

There were 305 prosecutions under the previous CDM 2007 version, with the largest fine being £1.5m in a 2016 prosection.

While that's more prosecutions overall compared to CDM 2015, prosecutions under the 2015 version only really started hitting the courts in 2016 as cases take time to prepare.

We could only find 8 prosecutions under CDM 1994, which as far as trends go, certainly shows that there has been a big increase in action taken by the HSE in more recent years. The fines were also smaller, the biggest being £16,000. It should also be noted that CDM covers more now than it did then.

What can we learn about CDM from these prosecutions? What punishments have been given, what breaches are most common, and how can you avoid the same mistakes?

Prison Time

In 2018, a Manchester-based property developer was sentenced to 8 months in prison for breaches under CDM. The primary breach was under part 4 of the regulations for the stability of structures. This was a serious case, involving the uncontrolled partial collapse of a structure (although no one was hurt due to the closure of the unsafe site by the HSE).

Stability of structures

(1) All practicable steps must be taken, where necessary to prevent danger to any person, to ensure that any new or existing structure does not collapse if, due to the carrying out of construction work, it—

  1. may become unstable; or
  2. is in a temporary state of weakness or instability.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Regulation 19

2018 also saw the handing out of a suspended sentence and 2 cases resulting in community services for breaches under CDM 2015.

Fines

The vast majority of CDM 2015 prosecutions result in fines. They can range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Breaches under CDM have seen thousands of over 1 million pounds in the past, so significant penalties can be expected for major breaches.

Biggest Fine £800,000

The largest fine so far under CDM 2015 (£800,000) was given in January 2018. The company involved breached regulation 13. This relates to the principal contractor's duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase, and carry out work without risk to health and safety.

The total fine in this court case was actually £1.1m, as the subcontractor involved was also fined (although under the Work at Height Regulations).

Average Fine £71,150

The average fine resulting from prosecutions under CDM 2015 is a whopping £71,150.

money
You're going need a lot more than this to pay the average CDM fine

Total Fines £6.7m

Since the first prosecution under CDM 2015 in August 2015, there have been 86 fines issued totalling £6,759,283.

Breaches

So what can we learn, other than failing to comply with CDM can result in mega-fines and prison time?

When prosecuting under CDM, the HSE specify the particular part of the regulation that has been breached. This gives us an idea of what part of the regulations people and businesses are failing to comply with.

The following breakdown shows where the majority of CDM 2015 breaches occurred.

  • Regulation 4 (9 Breaches) Client Duties
  • Regulation 6 (2 Breaches) Notification
  • Regulation 11 (1 Breach) Principal Designer Duties
  • Regulation 13 (29 Breaches) Principal Contractor Duties
  • Regulation 15 (24 Breaches) Contractor Duties
  • Regulation 16 (2 Breaches) Part 4
  • Regulation 17 (2 Breaches) Safe Places of Work
  • Regulation 18 (2 Breaches) Good Order and Site Security
  • Regulation 19 (6 Breaches) Stability of Structures
  • Regulation 20 (2 Breaches) Demolition
  • Regulation 22 (8 Breaches) Excavations
  • Regulation 25 (2 Breaches) Energy Distribution
  • Regulation 27 (2 Breaches) Traffic Routes
  • Regulation 28 (1 Breach) Vehicles
  • Regulation 29 (3 Breaches) Fire, Flooding or Asphyxiation
cdm principal contractor
Most breaches have been by principal contractors and contractors

Most of the breaches (over 50%) have been by principal contractors and contractors failing to comply with their CDM duties. The majority of the defendants in these cases were contractors and sub-contractors.

However, there are also a significant amount of prosecutions under Regulation 4 (Client Duties). This shows the importance of clients understanding what they need to do under CDM, and making sure they do it.

If you need help with your CDM duties, you can use our free CDM duty holder guides.

Data

95 prosecutions listed on the HSE prosecutions database (see data below for a summary). Some defendants were prosecuted for multiple breaches, each breach is listed as its own case in the HSE data.

Case Date Result Amount Breach
45453740/0207/11/2018Fine£100,000.0015
45681360/0106/11/2018Fine£30,000.0019
45449370/0110/10/2018Fine£200,000.0013
45210360/0104/10/2018Fine£25,000.0015
45527680/0229/08/2018Fine£80,000.0015
45223440/0127/07/2018Community Service£0.0013
44051590/0124/07/2018Fine£22,000.004
44051590/0224/07/2018Fine£0.006
44051590/0324/07/2018Fine£0.006
44051590/0424/07/2018Fine£540,000.004
45111360/0120/07/2018Prison£0.0019
44993150/0111/07/2018Fine£270,000.0015
44993170/0111/07/2018Fine£270,000.0013
44920790/0102/07/2018Fine£20,000.004
44920790/0202/07/2018Fine£0.004
45178910/0102/07/2018Prison Suspended£0.0015
45659530/0206/06/2018Fine£2,000.0022
45659690/0106/06/2018Fine£2,000.0022
44967960/0125/05/2018Fine£566,670.0025
45424960/0123/05/2018Fine£20,000.0019
45186580/0122/05/2018Fine£10,000.0011
45315000/0110/05/2018Other£0.0022
45210410/0102/05/2018Fine£7,692.0015
44412990/0430/04/2018Fine£5,000.0020
44412990/0530/04/2018Fine£15,000.0015
44413040/0130/04/2018Fine£3,000.0013
44413040/0230/04/2018Fine£3,000.0013
44413080/0130/04/2018Fine£2,500.004
44413080/0230/04/2018Fine£2,000.004
44991730/0130/04/2018Fine£30,666.0013
45527680/0123/04/2018Fine£80,000.0015
45527750/0123/04/2018Community Service£0.0015
45329680/0104/04/2018Fine£2,590.0020
45438120/0204/04/2018Fine£8,000.0015
45340660/0222/03/2018Fine£4,600.0028
45340660/0522/03/2018Fine£4,600.0015
44993120/0116/03/2018Fine£5,000.004
44993120/0216/03/2018Fine£40,000.0013
44855890/0108/03/2018Fine£26,000.0015
44855950/0108/03/2018Fine£31,500.0013
45244490/0107/03/2018Fine£50,000.0013
44732600/0121/02/2018Fine£1,500.0015
44810450/0113/02/2018Fine£500,000.0027
45121220/0131/01/2018Fine£45,000.0013
44847970/0118/01/2018Fine£18,120.0019
44613260/0104/01/2018Fine£800,000.0013
44979240/0113/12/2017Fine£40,000.0013
45133570/0109/11/2017Fine£25,000.0013
44902520/0126/10/2017Fine£10,000.0015
44902520/0226/10/2017Fine£10,000.0013
44527110/0109/10/2017Fine£25,000.0015
44832930/0228/09/2017Fine£50,000.0013
44832930/0328/09/2017Fine£50,000.0013
45017970/0119/09/2017Fine£50,000.0015
44959720/0124/08/2017Fine£145,000.0013
44992340/0124/08/2017Fine£113,000.0015
44980230/0307/07/2017Fine£600.0015
44886660/0228/06/2017Fine£13,170.0013
44996240/0121/06/2017Fine£27,000.0019
44927890/0115/06/2017Fine£44,445.0015
44779360/0114/06/2017Fine£1,800.004
44399710/0113/06/2017Fine£180,000.0015
44427240/0212/06/2017Fine£10,000.004
44880280/0223/05/2017Other£0.0018
44532140/0117/05/2017Fine£325,000.0022
44915880/0109/05/2017Fine£110,000.0015
44933340/0106/04/2017Fine£13,330.0016
44868240/0124/03/2017Fine£112,000.0013
44763080/0123/03/2017Fine£52,000.0013
44682550/0121/03/2017Fine£145,000.0013
44605430/0108/03/2017Fine£600,000.0025
44848060/0101/03/2017Fine£3,000.0016
44848060/0201/03/2017Fine£3,000.0017
44537200/0307/02/2017Fine£100,000.0015
44449600/0127/01/2017Fine£50,000.0022
44694720/0109/12/2016Fine£24,000.0013
44694750/0109/12/2016Fine£20,000.0015
44483370/0124/11/2016Fine£70,000.0013
44757490/0109/11/2016Fine£5,000.0022
44549600/0110/10/2016Fine£50,000.0019
44623660/0206/10/2016Fine£20,000.0013
44202350/0119/09/2016Fine£25,000.0022
44527390/0211/08/2016Fine£8,000.0015
44434870/0105/08/2016Fine£60,000.0029
44434870/0305/08/2016Fine£40,000.0027
44556130/0111/07/2016Fine£50,000.0013
44445910/0224/06/2016Fine£71,500.0013
44447580/0109/06/2016Fine£50,000.0013
44429350/0128/04/2016Fine£6,000.0013
44464340/0113/04/2016Fine£20,000.0022
44464340/0213/04/2016Fine£20,000.0017
44385720/0114/03/2016Fine£50,000.0013
44316680/0123/12/2015Fine£4,000.0029
44316680/0223/12/2015Fine£4,000.0029
44057080/0220/08/2015Fine£10,000.0018
share on twitter share on facebook share on linked in share by email
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

Need CDM Help?

Get CDM support on your construction projects with our free guides and support packs for all duty holders.

CDM Support

Recent posts like this...

CDM 2015 Documents Explained

There are several documents required under CDM 2015, in this blog post we look at which documents are required, and when. CDM 2015 has been around for a while now, and applies to all construction projects in Great Britain, and not much has changed when it comes to the documents required, or has it?

Read Post

95 CDM 2015 Prosecutions (Breaches, Fines And Prison Time)

There have been 95 prosecutions under CDM since the latest version came into force in 2015. 46 of those prosecutions occurred in 2018, which also saw the largest fine to date under CDM 2015 (£800,000) and the first prison sentence. Let's look, and learn from, the HSE data.

Read Post

CDM Regulations And The Secrets Of Part 4

The CDM regulations are a big deal in the construction industry. You're probably familiar with duties of clients, contractors and designers. But do you know about part 4? It doesn't get much attention, but failing to comply is not an option. Find out how part 4 applies to your construction projects.

Read Post

HASpod makes health and safety simple.

Learn More