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IOSH: Govt must spend to achieve safety targets

The Government needs to commit to providing adequate training and an increase in inspectors if new proposals for the construction industry are to succeed, according to Europe's largest health and safety body.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health has called for an eventual doubling in the number of front-line inspectors and has said training for new construction workers must include health and safety and language skills for migrant workers.

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction, published last week, aims to recruit 230,000 additional construction workers as well as cut worker fatalities by 10 per cent year on year.

IOSH construction group chairman John Lacey said while he was pleased with the safety targets, more needed to be done in order to achieve them.

He added: "In 2006/07, 77 construction workers were killed. That was up from 60 in 2005/06 which was the lowest figure on record.

"To achieve a 10 per cent reduction year on year, there must be adequate enforcement. There must be enough inspectors to be a real presence on construction sites in Britain.

"With the expected growth in the workforce, increasing number of migrant and at risk work groups, and the increase in construction in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, 2017 cross-rail project and 2020’s target for three million new homes, there really does need to be a phased and eventual doubling of the number of HSE inspectors to allow us to achieve these targets. Without adequate funding, it just won’t happen."

Health and Safety Executive chief inspector of construction Stephen Williams has said his only aim at present is to maintain the current number of inspectors in his team, which is around 134.