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UK occupational health scheme set for early start

HSE boss backs plan to screen, monitor and rehabilitate construction workers after pilot scheme

PLANS for a national construction occupational health scheme could be rolled out nationally as early as next year.

The news comes as outgoing HSE chief inspector of construction Kevin Myers threw his weight behind the scheme to screen, monitor and rehabilitate construction workers.

Under the plan construction workers would carry a health pass containing their latest medical records from site to site as they change employers, cutting down on the number of times each worker would need a medical.An 18-month pilot of the scheme is due to be completed this month.

Mr Myers said: 'There is a clear business case for a construction occupational health service.'

The HSE has been piloting a regional scheme in Leicester, called Constructing Better Health, to look at whether it would work on a national scale.

It provides free support and advice for construction projects, site risk assessments and guidance for employers and workers.

The B&CE Benefits Scheme administrates the pilot through a charitable trust. Health and safety consultant Sypol, which runs the scheme, is now expected to evaluate the data it has collected and present it to the CBH management board.

Mr Myers said: 'In the past the culture in the industry was to whistle up some more workers once you have damaged your own.

Working to rehabilitate workers and getting them back into work is better business for industry.

'Workers are often away from home and there is a need for rehabilitation, screening and monitoring of the workforce.'

CBH is an industry and Government backed scheme, supported by donations from employers and bodies including the Association of British Insurers.A national health service for the industry is likely to be backed by Government and industry.

Members of the CBH board include CSCS chairman George Brumwell, Trevor Walker of the Construction Confederation, transport union TGWU national construction secretary Bob Blackman and Federation of Master Builders chief executive Ian Davis.

Mr Blackman said: 'We know the industry needs an occupational health scheme.What needs to be worked out is the best way of delivering it.'