A leading health and safety consultant last week fired a broadside at designers for failing to address safety in design.

Speaking at the Construction Confederation's national safety conference, Managing Risk – Adding Value, former Health and Safety Executive inspector and chartered civil engineer Michael Williams said poor design had caused some serious accidents and designers needed to learn about the construction process.

Williams said: "Designers need an injection of practicality. They can contribute a great deal to safety, but we must get them in touch with people who build." The conference, attended by more than 100 people, also heard Construction Confederation president Sir Martin Laing say there had to be an industry-wide determination to ensure safety became paramount on site.

Sir Martin said: "All too often, rules and safety procedures are ignored; what we say and what we do are two different things. We need a culture change. Managers and operatives need to believe that health and safety is as much a part of project management as building to the required quality and meeting timetables and budgets." Speaking for clients, Union Railways safety manager Alan Haynes criticised the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations that let contractors evade responsibility for safety.