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Brains trust


At first glance your reported safety survey (NCE 6/13 January) provides more concern and yet another stick with which to beat academia.

Further examination however reveals the potential for misunderstanding the essence of higher education - as opposed to further education or indeed training as used in the headline.

Many universities may choose to cover the items that were listed - principles of excavation, confined spaces, prescribed standards of welfare - all reflecting the wide spectrum of course contents and styles in our universities.

But the article did not really reflect the fact that the fundamental key to this stage of education is an introduction to intellectual understanding of risk management, and the responsibilities that accrue to professionals from their first day at work.

This has recently been outlined in a Health & Safety Executive sponsored paper issued to all the construction accreditation bodies.

We have to be realistic;time is a scarce commodity over a three or four year course. The foundations of risk management - the thread that flows through all our work - need to be a first priority, reinforced by practical example as time allows.

To this base industry can add experience and knowledge acquisition, in time creating the competent professional.

John Carpenter, consultant, 1 Sherbrooke Close, Sale, Cheshire M33 5SZ

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