In a double victory for Building’s Safer Skyline campaign senior ministers have backed the movement, while the Strategic Forum is to set out standards for the safe use of cranes on site.

Peter Hain, the work and pensions minister, and Stephen Timms, the construction minister, singled out the Safer Skyline campaign for praise.

"Regulation is not the answer. It is about people behaving correctly"

Keith Clarke, CIC Health and Safety committee

Hain said: “I am aware of the Safer Skyline campaign. By bringing all interests to the table we can pool not only our concerns but our approaches.”

Timms said: “The rise in deaths is worrying. I welcome campaigns in this area, including the one Building has been running on safer cranes.”

The forum will meet on Thursday to put together a set of “golden rules” for the use of tower cranes.

At the meeting, the Major Contractors Group (MCG) will propose a ban on tower cranes older than 10 years, in direct support of the campaign.

"The industry must make a huge cultural and behavioural change"

Geoffrey Podger, health and safety executive

This means old cranes will no longer be on sites belonging to Kier, Skanska and Carillion, among other large contractors. Introducing a crane safety register, which was another goal of the campaign, will also be discussed.

The meeting will be attended by representatives from the MCG, McAlpine, Constructionskills, the Safety Assessment Federation, the Construction Plant-Hire Association, the United Crane Operators Association and the Battersea Crane Action Group.

The forum will also address other issues raised by recent HSE research, including:

  • Why a capable supervisor was not near the scene of most fatal accidents
  • Why before most incidents specific or daily risk assessments had not been made
  • Why when near misses occurred a pattern of negligence could often not be established. The forum will identify ways in which this information can be collated and shared.

John Spanswick, the chair of the forum, said: “You don’t wait for annual statistics to come about to decide what you’re going to do. We need to make sure the figures we have seen do not continue.”