A construction industry taskforce is to be set up to develop plans to improve safety in advance of next February's safety summit between the industry and government.
The move follows last week's meeting between ministers and construction leaders after HSE figures showed a 59% rise in site deaths.

The group, to be chaired by Construction Industry Board deputy chairman Chris Sneath, will include members from each of construction's umbrella bodies and others who attended last week's meeting.

Construction Confederation president John Gains, one of those at the meeting, called for a culture change in the industry. He said: "Last week's meeting was constructive from the point of view of getting together a range of people vital to the construction process as we are all anxious to see an improvement in safety.

"But we don't know which options we will take forward yet. This is an attitude issue, it is about how to engage everyone from the smallest contractor up."

Members of the group have until 27 February, when the safety summit takes place, to come up with moves to halt the growing number of industry deaths and accidents.

This is about how to engage everyone from the smallest contractor up

John Gains

Ideas put forward by industry figures at last week's meeting included the inclusion of health and safety in undergraduate training and "safety passports" to show the competence of site workers.

Construction minister Nick Raynsford is believed to have emphasised the role of the government as the industry's major client and regulator at last week's meeting.

The DETR is also thought to be devising its own proposals, but it is not expected to release any of them until the summit.

CIB chief executive Don Ward said safety initiatives had to be merged without compromising standards.