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    HSE CONSTRUCTON CHIEF INSPECTOR FEARS FOR FUTURE

    hselogo1Economic recovery must be supported by competent workforce

    It has been reported by Construction (CN) that the HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, Heather Bryant, has told CN that fatalities on UK building sites could increase as the industry comes out of the downturn.

    Ms Bryant calls on the industry to ensure that all staff engaged on projects have the necessary instruction, training and supervision to work safely. Her comments follows the recent high-profile death on a major London project.

    Ms Bryant said that there was “definitely a risk that injuries and fatalities will increase” as workloads rise. She pointed out that fatalities usually fall during a recession and then increase again as the volume of work on site picks up and the industry’s workforce expands.

    She added that there was “pressure to build, build, build” and warned that “contractors need to be careful about who they bring into the industry” to fill the skills gap.

    Major contractors show improvement

    The latest statistics on construction worker deaths (year to April 2014) will be confirmed in July 2014 and Ms Bryant said she expected the figure to be “broadly similar” to the 39 construction deaths in 2012/13.

    CN adds that the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) reports improved health and safety performance in 2013 based on injury data showing the average number of reportable injuries per 100,000 people at work among UKCG members was 307 in 2013, down from 357 in 2012 and 407 in 2011.

    UKCG Director Stephen Ratcliffe said in the coming year contractors would have to ensure they employ qualified people and provide appropriate inductions as the industry grows. He added:

    “This has a huge impact on performance and we must not take shortcuts because the skills are harder to find.”

    UCATT regional director for London and the South-east Jerry Swain said he expected the number of construction fatalities to get worse before it improved and warned contractors not to take shortcuts as work picked up.

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