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Designers face clamp down after safety blitz

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HEALTH AND safety officials are to clamp down on designers which consistently fail to consider construction safety, they said this week.

The move was announced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after a week long safety blitz on 223 London construction sites which resulted in 110 prohibition notices being served.

Ninety of the notices were served on sites which failed to provide proper fall protection.

The inspections showed that problems could often be traced back to designers, said blitz leader, HSE inspector Barry Mullen.

With the revised Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 1994 approved code of practice (ACOP) now in force, the HSE is ready to get tough with designers and clients which regularly flout their legal responsibilities (NCE 13 December 2001), he said.

'Where we see problems on site we will be tracking back far more than we have done previously, ' said Mullen.

'Designers' duties have been spelt out more stringently in the new ACOP. So whenever there is an accident we will go to the designer, and if they have not met the requirements of the ACOP they will be prosecuted.'

The Institution of Civil Engineers said that government should take the lead as it pays for 40% of construction work, making it one of the industry's biggest clients.

'If government really cared about the workforce, should it not insist on better standards on its own projects?' said ICE health and safety board chairman Liz Bennett. 'The second challenge is to the construction professionals together with the workforce, who clearly are able to deliver high standards when pressed, but don't do so routinely, ' said Bennett.

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