Respect for People report from Movement for Innovation condemns site conditions that put workers' health at risk and launches a welfare checklist.
The Movement for Innovation has urged the industry to pay more attention to workers' health in its drive to improve site conditions.

Its Respect for People report, released this week, calls on firms to do more to eradicate conditions that can lead to disabilities such as muscular skeletal injuries, white finger and asthma.

Alan Crane, chairman of the Movement for Innovation, said at the launch that the the health of construction workers was often overlooked.

He said: "Despite a dreadful record on health and safety, health has generally been ignored. But far more damage is done to people from a health aspect than from injury."

Construction minister Nick Raynsford reinforced this appeal, saying: "Sixty-two people were killed this year, which is unacceptable, but the record on health is equally shameful."

Crane urged firms to pilot new checklists designed to assess health and safety standards and to encourage more women and ethnic minorities to enter the industry.

The self-assessment measures, called "toolkits", provide companies with a yardstick to assess their performance in providing acceptable working conditions. For example, the site welfare checklist includes ratings for toilets and hot and cold running water.

Tom Rock, Manchester city council's head of housing technical services, welcomed the initiative: "It has got to be more effective to have people giving out guidance that has been thought out and that builds on health and safety policies as well as in-house procedures."

Andrew Kane, partner at architect Faulkner Brown, said the Movement for Innovation was reaching out into the regions. He said: "It would appear most major contractors are spreading the message in the regions and that is filtering down to the consultants."

Try commercial director John Homer, however, was more sceptical. He said the toolkits would encourage SMEs but were too simple for large businesses.

He said: "I think that they will be very valuable for small and medium-sized enterprises, who may not have the internal resources to create this kind of practical documentation for themselves."

The Respect for People toolkits include health and safety in procurement and design, site safety, career development and lifelong learning, off site working environment, on site welfare and diversity in the workplace.

For more information ring Adrian Terry on 020-7813 3050.