Clients do indeed have a major role to play in health and safety but so too do the operatives.
Having monitored safety checks between the designers and the contractors on two major pharmaceutical projects, we found the CDM regulations, though laudable, had minimal effect on those who have the accidents. It is a theoretical solution to a practical problem.
On these two projects the clients were prepared to invest up front in a carrot and stick approach. By providing substantial incentives and close supervision by safety officers, excellent safety figures were achieved. On a total cost basis they were deemed a financial success, although that is hard to substantiate.
However, long term attitudes were hardly dented. People soon revert to their old ways.
As with the wearing of seat belts, it will probably take legislation to change attitudes.
The clients who benefit from the building work should be required to put the money up front for incentive schemes and close independent supervision. This is where the legislation would probably be required. Then reduced premiums should provide the carrot for 'safe' clients.
Ian Jarvis (F), 41 Cartmel Drive, Dunstable, Beds LU6 3PT