More than one-third of the construction workers who attended an industry occupational health scheme have been referred to doctors with previously undetected health problems.

About 700 of the 2000 workers who have attended the Leicestershire pilot of Constructing Better Health, the planned industry-wide health initiative, since October 2004

have been sent to doctors as a result of health problems discovered in tests carried out by the scheme. Problems included dermatitis, hearing loss and hand-arm vibration syndrome.

The pilot for the scheme is scheduled to finish this summer, when a decision will be made on whether to roll the project out nationally. The scheme aims to provide health advice and testing across the industry, particularly to small and medium-sized firms.

Meanwhile, research by tool hire company Speedy Hire has found that 67% of construction workers are unaware of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, with only 26% of operatives having received training in the use of low-vibration tools.

Speedy Hire has now launched a national programme to advise workers on the dangers of hand-arm vibration syndrome.