The Health and Safety Executive has formed a construction arm to target architects and clients in a bid to improve the industry's accident record.
The division will be headed by Kevin Myers, the chief construction inspector, and will be staffed by regional construction inspectors.

Myers said officials would examine designs and drawings, and advise on whether they were in line with safety rules, in addition to carrying out traditional site-based inspections.

He said that under the scheme construction inspectors would still investigate incidents and follow up complaints, but that changes in approach had been necessary to improve the executive's effectiveness.

He said: "By targeting more of our interventions further up the chain of duty holders we will ensure that clients and designers play their part in making change happen."

Myers' division will combine four regional units – London, the East and South-east; Yorkshire and the East Midlands; Scotland and the north of England; and Wales, the South-west and the West Midlands.

Over the course of the first year, the division will be expanded to include 158 dedicated construction inspectors and their immediate managers. However, no new resources will be found for it – it will be funded from the HSE's annual government budget.

We will ensure that clients and designers play their part in making change happen

Kevin Myers, chief construction inspector, HSE

Myers said the HSE intends to ensure that workers and their representatives are better consulted on the health, safety and welfare matters that affect them on site.

He added that the latest fatality figures for the year ending in April were likely to be in the low 80s. This would indicate that the industry's safety record has improved compared with last year, when there were 114 construction-related deaths.

Building revealed earlier this month that the HSE was planning a year-long campaign to improve site safety. This is to take the form of monthly blitzes targeted at different regions.

UCATT general secretary was reported as welcoming the safety drive while insisting that further action was necessary. He said that he believed that the HSE campaign ought to lead to court action against contractors rather than more warnings.

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