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SEC Group report highlights poor safety management

A report by the Specialist Engineering Contractors' (SEC) Group has revealed a widespread lack of effective health and safety risk management on-site.
Despite a tightening-up of the relevant legislation in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations in 2007, the necessary team approach is in woefully short supply, according to SEC Group. The report is based on 'the most detailed survey ever undertaken of the views of engineering contractors' and focuses on projects expected to last longer than 30 working days or to involve more than 500 person days.

Among the areas of concern highlighted by the report were:

● lack of early involvement of engineering contractors in the risk assessment process;
● lack of risk management being carried out before work started on-site;
● information on health and safety risks not being made available to firms before work begins;
● health and safety risk information relevant to design, construction and/or maintenance not being provided to contractors;
● the existence of multiple schemes for the pre-qualification of firms' health and safety competence;
● no 'mobilisation' period - during which contractors can plan their health and safety risk management - being allowed before commencement of work on-site;
● supply chains rarely being consulted on decisions relating to the management of site health and safety risks.

'This state of affairs is undermining the substantial investment already being made by companies to improve health and safety within their own businesses,' commented SEC Group chief executive Professor Rudi Klein.

'While firms continue to make every effort to improve their health and safety performance, they are frustrated by not being able to teamwork with other parties to the project.' That, after all, was the key aim of the CDM Regulations, said Professor Klein. 'It is now essential that we have a project health and safety plan that embraces all stages of project delivery to which the project team can sign up.'

The report, entitled Experience of Working with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, can be downloaded from the SEC Group website at www.secgroup.org.uk
20 February 2011

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