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Contractors should have legal care of all site staff

CONTRACTORS SHOULD take full legal responsibility for people on their sites, a leading construction health and safety expert has warned.

Independent consultant John Anderson, a former chief inspector at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), said that the Construction (Design & Management) CDM regulations should be overhauled to give the principal contractor legal responsibility for everyone that steps onto site.

Speaking at an ICE consultation seminar this week, Anderson said: 'We need to change the regulations because they are a complete mess.

'Making the contractor fully responsible would solve the current problem whereby inspectors first have to find out who everyone works for before taking action. This is a complete waste of time, ' he added.

The seminar gave people the chance to respond to the HSE consultation document Derby magistrate Peter Rogerson called for magistrates to be given new sentencing options for firms prosecuted for breaches of health and safety law.

'Why don't you use the courts to bring in a culture, ' he said. 'Instead of fining these firms, why not send them on an approved health and safety course?

'By fining the firms what we are actually doing is removing the finance that could be spent on improving health and safety, ' said Rogerson.

'If the HSE pushed for a new legal system they would get it, ' he added.

The ICE will submit a formal response to the HSE consultation, which ends on 31 December.

INFOPLUS E-mail your comments to peter. fry@ice. org. uk.

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