Construction industry gets OH pilot off the ground

Plans to bring OH to the construction industry have been given a significant boost by the launch of a pilot scheme in Leicestershire.

The Constructing Better Health (CBH) pilot is the result of moves by construction companies, unions and the Health & Safety Executive, amid continuing concerns at the rates of injury, illness and death within the industry.

The two-year pilot is offering firms in Leicestershire free advice on issues such as vibrating tools, noisy processes, materials that can affect the skin or be breathed in, and manual work that can cause musculoskeletal problems.

It is intended that the programme will run nationally. In January, the scheme received a further boost when the Association of British Insurers pledged 100,000 to its development, and a similar amount for 2006. The project needs to raise a further 450,000 to be operational, having already secured 650,000 from a variety of sources.

A summit meeting was held at the end of February to give the industry a chance to review what progress had been made and suggest future actions, particularly in the areas of OH and rehabilitation.

CBH chairman George Brumwell described the project as “probably one of the most important initiatives that the industry has undertaken in recent years”.

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt, who is also MP for Leicester West, launched the pilot and stressed that improving OH in the industry was a key part of its campaign to get OH higher up the agenda among small- and medium-sized businesses.

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