An initiative to use design teams in the management of health and safety was due to be announced at the health and safety summit on Thursday

M&E trade body the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC) was set to launch the proposals, which are initially aimed at the engineering sector but which could be used elsewhere. The group was also expected to call for the HSE to adopt safety prequalification criteria.

The focus of the summit is on ownership, leadership and partnership. HSE chief inspector Kevin Myers was expected to tell the industry that its approach to safety is too fragmented and its culture must change. Myers said: “Originally we wanted the industry to take ownership of its actions and now we need to move to partnership between the sectors.”

This stance was backed last week by John Spanswick, chairman of the Major Contractors Group, who told an audience at a concrete structures group seminar that those at the top of the industry must “win the hearts and minds” of others on safety.

Trevor Hursthouse, chairman of the specialist engineering contractors, was expected to tell delegates at the summit that there is substantial evidence that the failure to integrate design has damaged management of health and safety risks. He was also due to announce the expansion of a project by the Specialist Engineering Alliance, which includes his group, to focus on health and safety.

The initiative will identify the health and safety implications for each task in the design process. It is aimed at encouraging dialogue between parties, with engineers entering a project early to provide input into the design process. It is hoped that this will cut the potential for accidents.

The SEC hopes the proposals will be approved by the Construction Industry Council, which is working with professional bodies to harmonise approaches.