Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

UCATT: Health and safety reform will lead to rise in accidents

Plans to cut down on the number of health and safety regulations announced today by the government will lead to an increase in accidents on site, the largest construction trade union has warned.

UCATT said the recommendations laid out in the Löfstedt Review – which the government has pledged to implement – would put construction workers at risk.

The union wants construction “clearly exempted” from the report’s proposal that self employed workers who “pose no risk to others” should be exempt from health and safety laws.

It said the change would create a “legal nightmare” as over half of workers in the construction industry are officially classed as self-employed.

UCATT acting general secretary George Guy said:  “This proposal from Löfstedt would be disastrous if implemented in the construction industry.

“Workers would not know if they were covered by safety legislation. While, companies would try to divest themselves of safety duties, by increasing the number of false self-employed workers. Already construction companies all too often fail to comply with basic safety legislation and this proposal will make a bad situation far worse.”

The review also proposes scrapping the Tower Crane Register which was introduced last year following a series of fatal incidents.

Mr Guy said: “The latest fatality involving a tower crane was just a matter of weeks ago. Cranes by their very nature are dangerous especially if they are not properly maintained or erected. Rather than scrapping the register it should be extended to include all industries and all forms of cranes.”

Plans to review the working at height regulations amid claims some companies over interpret the rules also raised concerns, as falls from height remain the most common type of fatal accidents in the construction industry

Mr Guy added: “Yet again the focus is on reducing burdens on business rather than concentrating on the safety of workers. In the vast majority of accidents, if simple measures had been undertaken, fatal falls from heights could have been prevented.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • I Really cant understand the present Governments stand on this report, after decades of slow steady improvements to the H&S rules in construction & the workplace, they now want to scrap 33% of it ?.
    its hard enough to get construction companies to comply with half of it anyway, I still go on site and see guys not wearing the most basic safety kit of all, Gloves! The work at height rules were needed for so long and now they might cut them, is this government working for the compensation industry or something?
    Your average construction worker will ignore as many rules as possible, citing the Macho Builder image, until he crushes a foot, loses any eye or rips of a finger !!
    Sadly they HAVE to be MADE by regulations and the STRICT enforcement of it to be safe to even a basic level. Its sad but true!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • labour, conservative, lib dem it doesnt matter who it is th reality is they have no grip on real life and have no idea what happens on site. some things are better left alone this is one of those things as said before things are getting better so if it aint broke dont fix it

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.