HSE to improve poor health record in construction sector

OH
will play a major part in cutting building’s £760m bill for ill health

Construction
firms are to get free advice on OH issues, on-site risk assessments and advice
on specialist services under a pilot scheme being co-ordinated by the Health
and Safety Executive (HSE).

The
health and safety record of the industry has been an ongoing concern of the HSE
and, with the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC), it has agreed
to set up an independent ‘action forum’ to raise up to £1.3m for a trial OH support
scheme.

Once
the forum is established and funding secured, the pilot will be run initially
in a designated part of the country, with a remit to work to better manage
workers’ exposure to key health risks in the industry. If successful, it will
be expanded to become a national operation, aiming to reduce the industry’s
estimated £760m bill of work-related ill health.

Kevin
Myers, chairman of CONIAC and the HSE’s chief inspector of construction, said
the aim of the scheme was to “improve, preserve and protect the health of the
industry’s employees”.

Andy
Sneddon, health and safety director of the Construction Confederation added
that it represented a “real opportunity” to make a step change towards
effective management of health issues within the sector.

George
Brumwell, general secretary of industry trade union UCATT, said: “The cases of
ill health in our industry show why it is important this pilot is successful
and a permanent scheme is set up.”

The
HSE has been carrying out ‘blitzes’ on construction firms up and down the
country and is particularly worried about the number of deaths and serious
injuries within the industry.

www.hse.gov.uk

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