HEALTH and safety advisers spend most of their time arguing with site managers, according to a survey by consultant Principal People.
More than half the safety professionals quizzed said they were constantly in conf lict with site bosses.
One disgruntled safety expert said: 'A safe working environment needs to come from the heart of the company to succeed.
'Directors sometimes feel that they employ health and safety professionals like myself to protect them from the law.' The advisers quizzed complained that they were not given enough authority and that health and safety often conf licted with the desire of site managers and clients to get the job finished as quickly as possible.
Virtually all the safety professionals agreed that more could be done to make construction safer.
Alistair Attwood, of the Principal People construction desk, said: 'Construction has always been a tough environment for health and safety and we look for strong personalities with good advocacy skills.
'Quite often we get construction workers moving into health and safety because they have witnessed an accident and want to make a difference.' Nearly half of the 69 safety professionals quizzed felt they were not given the necessary authority or resources to properly carry out their job.
A quarter were worried that employers did not offer adequate health and safety training and nearly a third reported that personal protective equipment regulations were not strictly enforced on site.
The survey backs up fears among trade union officials and health and safety campaigners.
One said: 'It is very worrying to hear this sort of thing and it backs up what we have been saying.
'A lot of firms just spout the lines about health and safety but, when it comes to the crunch, it gets overridden by the need to speed the job up.'