Construction Confederation agrees broadbrush get-tough policy over health and safety after latest site death takes total to six in 10 days.
The Construction Confederation is planning to make safety failures as unacceptable as drink driving in a move to halt site deaths.

The zero tolerance strategy, aimed at both companies and employees, follows a further fatal accident on a north London site last Wednesday, the sixth death in 10 days.

Under plans outlined in a confederation council meeting last week, the new get-tough policy will underpin a series of year-on-year targets to reduce fatalities, accidents and site-induced ill health.

The Health and Safety Executive will be presented with the targets next week at a meeting to discuss the safety crisis. Confederation members will be expected to come up with measures for turning the theory into practice on their own sites. In addition, all members will be required to ensure that their employees are fully qualified.

The confederation would not reveal further details of the targets it has set, but a spokesperson said: "The industry will have to change to achieve them. It is about a culture change, so people do not want to be associated with poor health and safety practices. It has to be socially unacceptable. It is a broadbrush approach, but it is an agreed strategy in principle."

Figures released by the HSE last month show a 59% increase in deaths in the industry in the six months to September.

Construction union UCATT held a series of vigils for recent victims. A minute's silence was held on Thursday for a worker on a Laing Homes site in Edmonton, north London, who died after falling from a ladder on Wednesday.

The previous day, about 140 workers attended a minute's silence for a carpenter, Vincent Dooley, who died last Monday after falling 3 m while working on a Sir Robert McAlpine site at Bishopsgate, City of London. A minute's silence was also held in Sheffield for a worker who died last Tuesday while working on a Mowlem scheme at Sheffield United's football ground.

The confederation has also launched a rolling 10-year plan of projects investigating site accidents, with the first looking into falls, the most common cause of death on site. The next scheme will investigate accidents involving on-site transport.

  • Ten UCATT organisers are to take the Construction Industry Training Board's site management safety training scheme at the National Construction College.