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HSE to get tough on sites in fresh safety crackdown

NEWS

SAFETY inspectors are promising a fresh crackdown on construction after highlighting the industry in their latest strategy plan.

Construction comes under extra scrutiny in a Health and Safety Commission report, Sensible Health and Safety at Work: The Regulatory Methods Used in Great Britain, which outlines the body's planned activities up to 2010.

Construction was singled out because it still causes the largest number of fatalities of any sector and accounts for 15 per cent of all major injuries at work.

The report says: 'We will seek greater impact for the enforcement that we carry out, through the targeting and heavy punishment of rogue businesses and through the greater publicity we will seek for those convicted.' The HSE uses an internal rating system to grade firms and decide where to concentrate inspections.

The report suggests this data may be made available to the public. It says: 'We will develop a system for openly rating the performance of organisations.' Ron Reid, a partner at Shoosmiths solicitors, who specialises in health and safety law, said: 'Construction is perceived as a poorly performing industry. The Government has made public commitments to reduce accident statistics to certain levels by 2010, and we're not halfway there yet.

They need to change those numbers.'

For a full analysis of the report, see pages 40-41.