Work & Pensions secretary Peter Hain yesterday launched an action plan to cut a surge in fatalities on construction sites.
The plan, which aims to tackle a 28% rise in deaths in the housing and refurbishment sector, includes proposals to extend union representation.
Hain met with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), industry bodies, suppliers and contractors to agree the plan which will ensure all projects have a trade union representative and extend the requirement for site workers to carry a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent.
It also includes initiatives to ensure all site workers receive induction training, plus site specific planning and induction for those in control of tower crane erection, operation and dismantling.
"Figures out last week showed that nearly one in three construction refurbishment sites inspected by the HSE put the lives of workers at risk - this is completely unacceptable," said Hain who convened a meeting of the Construction Forum.
"The HSE stopped work at 244 of the sites immediately. But health and safety should never have been compromised in the first place.
"The Forum has agreed a clear framework for action to cut this appalling number of deaths and reverse this deadly trend. The construction industry must take ownership and work side-by-side with trade unions and Government to take action and drive down these unacceptable deaths. Only by working together will we deliver and sustain results."