Deputy prime minister expected to call for 40% reduction in deaths and serious accidents in four years at summit next Tuesday.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER John Prescott is expected to set the industry tough new targets at next week's safety summit, called in the aftermath of a 59% increase in site deaths last year.

The Health and Safety Executive's targets for reducing deaths and accidents, to be unveiled by Prescott on Tuesday, are likely to mirror those outlined by the Construction Confederation. Prescott is expected to call for a 40% cut in deaths and serious injuries over four years, and a two-thirds reduction by the end of the decade. The confederation says its members will try to reduce fatalities and major accidents by 10% a year.

An earlier HSE target of reducing the number of fatalities 10% by 2010 had been criticised as too lax.

The HSE will also set out a post-summit strategy to ensure that the action plans presented by the industry are followed up. Bill Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission, is understood to be setting up a cross-industry taskforce to monitor the plans' progress.

Ministers are studying union proposals to boycott companies with bad safety records

The HSE said it could not comment until the summit.

Meanwhile, ministers are understood to be studying union proposals to ban contractors with poor safety records from winning government contracts. Sources said the government was concerned that it could be difficult to establish criteria for judging safety records.

The TUC today launched plans to give cards to every construction worker telling them what their health and safety rights are. It is also setting up a whistleblowers' safety helpline. The unions intend to issue "improvement notices" to firms if safety rules are breached.