The Construction Confederation has backed a Department for Work and Pensions select committee report that calls for more health and safety inspectors in the industry.

The confederation told the committee that the Health and Safety Executive was too stretched to do more than react to events.

The National Audit Office found that there was one inspector for every 3333 sites.

The confederation said 50 more inspectors were required for the HSE to be able to devote more time to high-risk sites.

Stephen Ratcliffe, chief executive of the Construction Confederation, said: “We have made a robust case for enhancing the work of the HSE, through both an increase in the number of site inspectors and a greater emphasis on proactive, preventative measures.”

He said a lack of resources had led the HSE to concentrate on short-term policing rather than long-term strategic improvement.

The confederation told the committee that the industry aimed to having a fully qualified workforce by 2010.

The committee report also suggested the government took into account a company’s safety record before awarding a contract.