“Many construction firms already use external health and safety assessment, accreditation, and audit providers as part of their prequalification procedures. Indeed, the practice is so wide spread that the duplication and bureaucracy created by the construction health and safety accreditation industry has become an issue in itself. Although there are some serious red tape and gold plating type issues with prequalification schemes they can and do provide a significant uplift in on site safety. The only question is how best to ensure this without creating the reams of unhelpful and unnecessary paperwork that even HSE inspectors do not want to see.”
“There is no single solution to improving health and safety on construction sites but there are a number of steps that can be taken. To reduce red tape we need to stop seeing regulation as the automatic solution. We have over 17 pieces of health and safety legislation in construction and if legislation was the solution we wouldn’t still have a problem. We also need to continue the current work on rationalising prequalification in construction which has become immeasurably bureaucratic. We also need to target the use of limited HSE resources by providing help and advice to smaller construction firms doing their best to keep sites safe, and by targeting inspection and enforcement at the rogues who knowingly put lives at risk. While we would not favour banning HSE inspectors from any site we would suggest that the ones which are independently and reputably audited are not necessarily the ones that the handful of HSE construction inspectors should be looking at.”
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