Red, Amber and Green Lists for Design Associated with CDM 2007

If you influence, dictate or make design decisions that will affect constructing, cleaning, maintaining, dismantling, demolishing or using as a workplace for a construction project then you will attract some designer duties under CDM 2007.

It does not depend on what role you carry out in the construction process; it is a matter of whether you specify the use of a particular method of work or a material.

The process that you need to consider when making design decisions is:

• so far as is reasonably practicable, taking into account other relevant design considerations, avoid foreseeable risks associated with constructing, cleaning, maintaining, dismantling, demolishing or using as a workplace by eliminating hazards and reducing risks while giving collective measures priority over individual measures;

• then take all reasonable steps to provide sufficient information on the remaining or residual significant hazards and risks, i.e. those that are not likely to be obvious to a competent contractor or other designer, unusual or likely to be difficult to managed effectively that have not been designed out.

One of the difficulties when carrying out considerations of health and safety is to determine what sort of issues should be taken into account. The HSE and others have produced some guidance called Red, Amber and Green lists to aid in the process.

There are currently four sets of lists available which are:

• The HSE’s CDM Red, amber and green lists;

• The Designers Industry Guidance Red and green lists;

• The COHME (Construction occupational health management essentials)
Red-Amber-Green lists;

• ‘designoutrisk’ guidance in the Highway Sector RAG lists (red, amber & green).

1. The HSE’s CDM Red, amber and green lists

• RED
Hazardous procedures, products and processes that should be eliminated from the project where possible.
• AMBER
Products, processes and procedures to be eliminated or reduced so far as possible and only specified/allowed if unavoidable. Including amber items would always lead to the provision of information to the Principal Contractor.

• GREEN
Products, processes and procedures to be positively encouraged.

These lists are available from the HSE web site under Construction, CDM, Resources.

2. The Designers Industry Guidance Red and green lists

• RED
Processes or products that should not be specified or result from the design (without good reason). Should a red item be utilised then the designer should ensure relevant information is passed on to those affected.

The red list is broken up into two sections one on Health and one on Safety.

• GREEN
Processes, products and design outputs that are strongly encouraged.

The green list is broken up into two sections one on Health and one on Safety.

The guidance is available from the Construction Skills web site under Working in Construction, H&S, CDM, Guidance, Designers. The lists are in section 2.6 What should be considered?

3. The COHME (Construction occupational health management essentials)
Red-Amber-Green lists.

• RED
Hazardous products, processes and procedures to be eliminated from the project.

• AMBER
Products, processes and procedures to be eliminated or reduced so far as possible and only specified if there is no other option. The designer should provide information about these risks, and the reason for their selection.

• GREEN
Products, processes and procedures to be positively encouraged.

COHME is about health issues associated with back pain, skin problems, breathing problems, problems caused by noise and vibration and stress.

These lists are available from the HSE web site under Construction, Managing health risks (COHME), Roles in COHME, Designers.

4. ‘Designoutrisk’ guidance in the Highway Sector RAG lists (red, amber & green).

• RED
Hazardous elements, materials or processes, which are effectively prohibited and should be eliminated from the project excepting only where no alternative can be found. If any red item is to be employed, it requires formal justification within the design documentation and would always lead to the provision of information.

• AMBER
Hazardous elements, materials and processes which are to be employed in a careful and sparing way because they represent significant risks (although they may be justified on a risk-management basis). If any amber item is to be employed it requires information within the design documentation on its minimisation and shall require advice and guidance to be provided and would always lead to the provision of information.

• GREEN
Elements, materials and processes which are preferred because they represent significant risk reduction.

These lists are available from the HSE web site under Construction, CDM, Resources and have been adopted by Arup, Atkins, Halcrow and Mott MacDonald.

Although these lists have been written for the Highway Sector they contain useful items for other disciplines.

The lists use terms such as:
• should be eliminated where possible;
• should not be specified without good reason;
• to be eliminated;
• effectively prohibited where no alternative can be found;
• be eliminated or reduced as far as possible;
• only specified/allowed if unavoidable;
• only specified if there is no other option;
• employed in a careful and sparing way;
• to be positively encouraged;
• that are strongly encouraged;
• which are preferred;
• lead to the provision of information;
• relevant information is passed on;
• provide information.

However, it should be noted that the Regulations are clear that the elimination of hazards and the reduction of risks should be carried out so far as is reasonably practicable related to those that are foreseeable taking due account of other relevant design considerations. In addition, the Regulations are also clear that it is reasonable steps that should be taken to provide with the design sufficient information that will adequately assist others.

There is no doubt that when considering health and safety during the design processes or when making any decisions serious thought should be given whenever a red or amber item is being specified and there needs to be a good reason why a green item was not specified.

Notwithstanding some repetition between the various lists I recommend that any designer should be aware of these lists and carry out their design taking cognisance of them where relevant.

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