I was surprised to read Dermot Gleeson's comments on the Major Contractors Group's progress towards health and safety targets (20 June, page 15).
Apparently the MCG has not achieved its target of all site workers having skills cards by the end of this year and this is mainly the fault of apathetic subcontractors, main contractors having done well in training their own direct labour.

As the managing director of a medium-sized subcontractor, I have committed fully to skills cards that comply with MCG requirements and spent a five-figure training budget in doing so. Our experience so far is that lowest price continues to be the absolute defining factor when winning work from most main contractors and our health and safety commitment appears to be given little importance. We often do lose work to firms that have not spent on health and safety. Instead they hire "subcontract" labour (which is nothing of the sort) that is a few pounds cheaper than us.

Subcontractors will soon get the appropriate training in place if the MCG does what it says it will – not permit anyone on site who hasn't got a skills card. This doesn't need government or employers to make it happen, it just needs true commitment from the MCG.