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Communication is key to safety

I refer to the NCE500 question on safety last week. The safety record of the UK construction industry is, quite rightly so, second to none. Pouring more money into it is a waste of time, but, at the same time, the ICE does need to remain cautious.

The UK industry is seeing a major shift towards more international markets, and hence the employment of more international staff.

While we are not yet in the position of employing much labour from different countries, we are definitely moving towards a much greater mixing of cultures, standards and working procedures. (ERTMS anyone? ). As such, we now have a much greater need for the ICE and the HSE to maintain a good safety culture as well as a good regulatory system.

I do not mean that people from other countries have worse procedures, merely that they will be very different.

Integrating different working practices will be hard but we must ensure that safety is not pushed down the list simply as a result of bad communication and/or difficulties in working together.

Philip Holbourn p. f. holbourn@lineone. net

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