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HSE launches probe into construction hazards

The Health and Safety Executive has begun a fresh investigation into major hazards in the construction sector.

The review will help inform the regulator’s work, and aims to push safety to the top of the
industry’s agenda as it prepares for projects such as Crossrail and nuclear new build.

It could also be one of the first significant construction safety reports to inform the  post-election government.

Mike Cross, head of the HSE’s construction engineering specialist team, said: “This is an internally commissioned report by the HSE, so we are waiting to see what emerges.

“There may be issues we believe should be brought to the attention of ministers and, if this is the case, we will be proactive in raising them with the Government.”

Mr Cross insisted the study would be “entirely complementary” to the Donaghy inquiry into the underlying causes of construction fatalities, for which a Government response is expected in the coming weeks.

The project is being spearheaded by the Construction Industry Research and Information
Association.

It will examine the immediateand underlying causes of major incidents such as building, tunnel and tower crane collapses and major fires. It will also look at the current control measures and the need for further action to improve risk management.

Mr Cross said one of the fundamental reasons for the investigation was to examine whether the HSE was focusing its activities on the right areas of construction.

“We are never so arrogant to think we have all the questions, let alone all the answers,” he said. “We need to know, are we concentrating on the right things? Are all the bases covered?”

The probe also aims to “get the industry to focus on this issue”.

He added: “We need to make sure the industry has a grip on how it is managing risks, and what more might be done to control hazards.

“Our initial feelings are that this is not something that is in an appropriate position in the company’s psyche yet.”

Ciria held events last month in London and Manchester to collect views from throughout the
construction industry.

A steering group, made up of contractors, consultants and industry bodies, will meet on
Monday to begin discussions on the focus of the investigation.

The report is due in July.