Safety crackdown will see system installed on all major projects by mid-2009

Bovis Lend Lease will fit its cranes with aircraft-style black box recorders in a pioneering safety clamp-down.

The recording devices will store data for investigation purposes in the event of a safety breach or collapse, and also improve communication between tower crane operatives.

The so-called crane integrated safety system (CISS) will debut on Bovis' £413m redevelopment of BBC Broadcasting House and will be employed on all of its major projects by mid-2009.

Geoff Sinnerton, chief executive of Aspect International, the firm that developed the software, told Building magazine: 'Black boxes don't stop plane crashes, but they help us learn why they happened and how we can prevent them happening again.'

The news comes after the Strategic Forum recently issued new crane guidance calling on contractors to publish the contact details of site managers on hoardings to make it easier for the public to communicate safety concerns.

In other safety news, recent changes to rules on asbestos handling could mean repair and maintenance workers are now regularly putting their lives at risk, reports Building.

Construction union Ucatt said that in the last two months, there have been three major incidents in which its member had been exposed to asbestos while working for local authorities. The organisation feared that was 'only the tip of the iceberg.'

Regulations require asbestos to be removed by a licensed contractor, but a 2006 alteration to rules permits trained workers to handle textured decorative coatings that contain asbestos. Ucatt fears the rules may be being misinterpreted, leaving workers ignorant of the dangers.