A Liverpool city councillor wants to use the planning process to introduce compulsory roving safety reps on sites across the city.
Stephen Munby, the Labour spokesman for regeneration at the council, said the most effective way to ensure safety was taken seriously was to introduce a clause in section 106 agreements.

He said that it could be inserted alongside another clause that stipulated that private firms should make a commitment to training apprentices. He said: "I am glad to see an upsurge in building because of the decision to make Liverpool European city of culture in 2008, but I am concerned that the boom does not lead to a sharp rise in injuries and deaths on sites."

John Sheridan, Liverpool secretary of the Construction Safety Campaign, said the industry's safety problem had been caused by its failure to take training seriously.

He said: "People are coming on sites who do not speak the language and are expected to read safety notices written in English."

He said it was essential to have trade union representation on site as the best guarantee of safety standards, but claimed that workers were often reluctant to become shop stewards on health and safety because this made them a target for hostile employers.

The Construction Safety Campaign held its annual meeting in Liverpool last Saturday, which was attended by 80 building workers.