Clients were urged to take a greater role in improving health and safety last week by delegates to the Health and Safety Executive's Working Well Together conference.
The meeting was attended by an industry cross-section of contractors, consultants and union officials. They were split into seven working groups to look at particular areas of the construction process, after which they presented their findings to the conference.

The groups recommended that clients take responsibility for a project at an earlier stage by providing "who does what" guidance and by allowing time to replan the construction process.

They also concluded that an impartial adviser should be appointed to help clients assess the whole-life value of a project.

Another proposal was that project teams be formed at the design stage. The advantage would be that all those involved in implementing a design would have the opportunity to influence it, including specialists and material suppliers. This would also allow specialists to advise on the safety implications of a design.

Kevin Myers, the HSE's chief construction inspector, said the best ideas to emerge from the conference would be published in a consultation document early in the new year.