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Civils call for action over catastrophic events

Catastrophic events within the construction industry are real issues and must be properly investigated, research body CIRIA warned this week.

CIRIA’s call to action was made in a report produced for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) tackling major disasters in the industry.

“Preventing Catastrophic Events in Construction” looked at low probability high consequence events to help give the HSE a better understanding of hazard and risk profiles within the construction industry.

The report identifies that although companies recognise the importance of these “catastrophic events”, few realise the severity of what might happen when things go seriously wrong.

“This report draws people’s attention to the fact that catastrophic events need thinking about,” said CIRIA chairman Alan Gilbertson.

Gilbertson said these catastrophic events have the ability to put construction firms out of business.

“You only have to look at BP, where a company is seriously stressed as a result of catastrophic event,” added Gilbertson, referring to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The report identified eight issues which require further investigation, ranging from improving corporate risk management and reviewing temporary work procedures.

The HSE’s Construction Industry Advisory Committee has set-up a working group to discuss the implementation of the report.

NCE, CIRIA and the HSE are teaming up to launch CIRIA’s guide to preventing catastrophic events in construction on 13 April.

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