In the article “Fatality rate overshadows HSE’s healthy living plan” (15 November, page 17), some confusion crept in, which resulted in the views I expressed being misrepresented.

All the comments I made were about occupational health and not the improving accident statistics. I made three key points:

  • Failure to hit targets isn't terrible; hitting all of them means that they probably were not very challenging. Having targets for health is focusing minds and generating action.
  • The problem with setting health targets was that in 2000 there wasn’t a clear strategy on how these targets would be met. It is, for example, only now through the Constructing Better Health pilot that methods are being developed for reaching the thousands of small building firms.
  • Not just for construction but across industry, we don’t really have enough data on the point we were starting from – we don't have accurate baseline ill-health statistics.

Explaining that there are problems with targets is not the same as rejecting the new strategy. There’s not a lot of point in complaining about where we were starting from. I am just pleased that we are really getting going on improving occupational health in construction.

Lawrence Waterman, chairman, Sypol