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GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO FATALITIES REPORT

Donaghy report receives long awaited response from Government

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper has announced the Government response to the Donaghy report into the Underlying causes of construction fatal accidents.

The response “follows widespread consultation across government, trade unions, business organisations and the construction industry.”

New director duties and gangmaster proposals rejected

The Department for Work and Pensions commissioned Rita Donaghy to conduct an inquiry into what more could be done to reduce deaths and increase safety in the construction industry.

Ms Donaghy’s report contained 28 recommendations for improving safety in the construction industry, covering safety representatives, building control, the legal system, training and competence, and public procurement.

The Government Response accepts 23 of the recommendations including: support of Common Minimum Standards throughout publicly funded construction projects; mutual recognition between pre-qualification schemes; and support for greater worker participation.

The controversial recommendations to (a) introduce further H&S legal duties on company directors and (b) extend ‘Gangmaster’ licensing regulations to the construction industry have been rejected. However, the government does says it will “look further” at these recommendations.

Response is not an “end in itself”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper said : “I would like to thank Rita Donaghy and her team for their excellent work and their wide ranging recommendations.

“I hope that the action set out in the response further improves the safety record in the construction sector and provides comfort to the families of those who have been killed by construction-related accidents.”

“This response is not an end in itself though, and we must continue to work together – government, business, unions and workers – if we are to ensure that jobs in construction are as safe as any other.”

Comment

The Government response may be seen by some as kicking the two most controversial recommendations into the long grass. For others there will be relief that further legislative duties on directors are unlikely for some time to come. 

In a recent BBC Radio 4 interview Ms Donaghy expressed strong views in support of new legal health and safety duties on directors.

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