Recent deaths highlight importance of keeping the industry’s safety standards strong
This week the death of a worker on McGee’s Grosvenor Square site in London became the latest in a spate of deaths at sites across the capital including sites on Crossrail, the Docklands Light Railway and Laing O’Rourke’s Francis Crick Institute.
It led Richard Habgood, president of the Association for Project Safety, to warn that “the situation would get worse” in future, under plans to abolish the construction design and management co-ordinator role - the people that are paid to oversee health and safety practice - on sites.
Baroness Donaghy, author of an influential report on health and safety for the last Labour government, told the Observer newspaper last weekend that a lack of skills in the industry would lead to firms “cutting corners” on health and safety as the industry grows rapidly. She fears too much knowledge had been lost as a part of staff cuts since the downturn in 2008.
Now, perhaps more than ever it is, imperative that firms and their staff keep a close eye on health and safety issues so that standards are not allowed to slip
On top of this the government is now in the midst of “scrapping or improving” 89% of health and safety regulations in an effort to make it easier for firms to understand them and comply with them.
Regulatory simplicity is a laudable motive but achieving it is fraught with difficulty and will entail avoiding many unintended consequences.
All this adds up to a potentially dangerous cocktail.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s imperative that firms and their staff keep a close eye on health and safety issues so that standards are not allowed to slip in the rush for economic recovery.
Vern Pitt, senior reporter