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Contractor slight ignores site safety


Sir, The article 'Worker sacked after questioning safety' (Construction New, August 26), included a response from 'a spokesman' at HBG, the contractor involved, who believed the allegations to be irresponsible.

Well, unidentified spokesman, what would have been totally irresponsible and unacceptable would be for an experienced and dedicated professional with a commitment to health and safety to look at the problems on this site and walk away at the earliest opportunity - which I could have done.

Or I could have said nothing, knowing that it was going to 'rock the boat' of the regime responsible for these breaches, which HBG's top management was kept away from while I was on site.

'The very highest standards'HBG says it subscribed to on this site include:

nan induction system that did not identify anyone signing in the book which was kept in the security cabin. Having introduced a cross-check at the point of official entry to site, on the first day this was tested over 30 per cent of the workforce had not been inducted, while the same proportion did not have any CSCS card or similar competence certification;

nthere was no traffic management plan in place and vehicles entered the site at will into one of the two cul-de-sac areas.Apart from vehicles I acted as banksman for, no one ever took responsibility during my time there;

nPPE was not enforced;

nthere was no signage, particularly fire route escape indication;

npre-start subcontractors meetings, which would have eliminated many of the problems, were never held until introduced by me.

I could go on, as general site tidiness and housekeeping for a modern Major Contractors Group site was among the worst I have seen.

I have no doubt this is why the site was under threat of being temporarily closed down by the health and safety officer.

As for HBG's claim that the project is running to schedule, perhaps the subcontractors will take note of this.

It may be necessary for subbies to remind HBG of this when it is looking for someone to absorb the costs for an eightweek health and safety delay.

Rather than criticise others for bringing these matters to their attention, everyone would be better served if a similar amount of time and effort was given to what ought to be routine good practice.

David Oxley Chapeltown Sheffield