CONSTRUCTION MINISTER Nigel Griffiths this week spoke out against the use of corporate manslaughter legislation as a means to boost safety in the construction industry.
Addressing delegates at the ICE president's conference in Cambridge last week, Griffiths accepted that there were still too many people killed and injured but said he did not think that targeting individuals at the top of companies for prosecution would help.
'Every death is a tragedy but I see a huge amount of resource and effort being put in by the industry, ' said Griffiths. 'I do not believe that the use of corporate manslaughter legislation is the way forward.'
Griffiths pledged support for the ICE-backed Safety in Design initiative which brings together engineers, architects and clients to tackle the issues surrounding the safe design of infrastructure.
'Health and safety must be the personal responsibility of every individual, ' said Griffiths, adding that he did not see anyone in the industry putting a price limit on safety. 'The industry showing leadership does more than involving lawyers.'
In his keynote address to the conference Griffiths also praised the ICE for its recent State of the Nation report which he said helped to 'drive debate on the outputs of investment infrastructure'.
He also highlighted ICE president Doug Oakervee's recent 'visionary' initiative to set up industry and academic forums, and pool the thinking of top consultants, contractors and academics.
Alongside the Construction Industry Council-led Future Group, Griffiths said, these initiatives would be increasingly valuable in helping the government to decide the key issues in future.
'These initiatives show true leadership, ' he said. 'There is an encouraging realism among the profession that perhaps we have not seen before.'
Griffiths also urged the industry to continue to work hard to boost the numbers entering the profession and pledged his support for initiatives.
'It is my mission to make engineering the preferred career for the young, ' he said. 'Engineering is underpinning the strength of our economy, not selling mobile phones. We have to value engineering education more than we value Latin or Greek.'