Construction industry puts safety training at top of agenda

Training in the construction industry is to be radically
overhauled to meet ambitious health and safety targets set out in a new report.

Progress with Implementation of the Construction Summit
Action Plans, by the Health and Safety Executive, claims "nothing short of
a fundamental culture change will deliver results".

The report calls for a reduction of 30 per cent in the
number of working days lost per 100,000 employees through work-related ill
health and injury and a 10 per cent reduction in fatal and major injuries by
2010. It aims it to achieve half the targets by 2004 to make sure the industry
is on track .

To achieve the new targets employers are being encouraged to
access and certify the competencies of the workforce through a safety passport
scheme that involves initial training and continuous assessment.

A health and safety test for managers and supervisors is
also being proposed. 

Other changes include a single card recognition scheme that
certifies all industry-related training courses to help create a fully
qualified workforce.

A Health and Safety Taskforce has also been set up along
with a performance measurement system to track progress, which includes annual
reporting. The report follows last year’s Construction Safety Summit.

Kevin Myers, chief inspector of construction at the HSE,
told employers that the current good work must continue.

He said; "It was recognised at the summit that there
are no quick fixes for improving the industry’s health and safety record. Nothing
short of a fundamental cultural change will deliver results.

"There has been much activity and early good progress
in delivering action plans, but this activity must be sustained for years to
come when doubtless new priorities will arrive to compete for attention. The
ultimate measures of success will be a significant and sustained reduction in
fatalities, injuries and ill health."

By Paul Nelson





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