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Hain announces safety talks date

Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said the first safety forum with key representatives from the sector will be held on September 17. The series of meetings are part of a Government drive to stem the rising numbers of fatalities afflicting the construction industry. Last month, the Health and Safety Executive revealed a 28 per cent increase in deaths between 2006 and 2007. “The jump in fatalities is as disturbing as it is unacceptable and we must get to the bottom of why this is happening,” Mr Hain said. “I have now obtained the agreement of all the major construction employers’ organisations, the Health and Safety Commission and the main trade unions to meet in a forum. “I am asking them all to work together with me to identify the reason for the rise in deaths and to hammer out together an urgent action plan to reverse it.” Rob Miquel, health and safety officer with Unite, the Union, said: “The fact that the minister is directly involved just highlights how serious the problem in construction is, not just in terms of fatalities but also in terms of occupational illnesses and other accidents.