Construction union UCATT is to set up a roving safety reps scheme without the support of the Construction Confederation.
It intends to set aside £500,000 for the scheme, which aims to help employers identify health and safety training needs and to encourage employees to identify on-site hazards.

Under the initiative, due to start later this year, six union safety representatives will visit sites throughout the country to give advice.

Last year, a row broke out between UCATT and the Construction Confederation after the confederation refused to support a pilot roving reps scheme. However, the idea received a boost last year after the success of two trial schemes in London and the North-west.

UCATT general secretary George Brumwell said that the initiative would be UCATT-led but noted that many companies had agreed to support it.

Brumwell said: "The safety advisers will be unique. Because they are not on any employer's payroll they will be independent and able to offer sound advice.

"This is a chance to really improve safety in the industry."

Construction Confederation chief executive Stephen Ratcliffe said that the scheme would not provide a yardstick for measuring improvements in safety standards.