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Healthy debate

Reader's write - Letters

It may be possible to advance the debate on these pages about the effectiveness of the Construction (Design & Management) regulations, and Chris Lilley's letter (NCE 17 June) about the role of the type of procurement on safety, by referring to research that is being completed by CIRIA for the Health & Safety Executive.

This work was designed to test the hypothesis that the form of procurement did affect health and safety performance on site. Findings from 18 contractors across 110 sites have shown that none had a demonstrable effect.

The great majority of respondents thought that less than 20% of construction risk might be designed out by better designs. And while contractors thought designs were generally safe to construct, there was a belief that they could be yet safer. There was no clear pattern to how this might be achieved.

We are likely to recommend to the HSE that further work should be done to establish the amount of improvement that might actually be achievable through better design, with particular emphasis on manual handling issues. Our results are also based on information from larger contractors and the belief that it would be useful to extend the work to SME contractors who represent the bulk of the industry by volume.

Keith Montague (F), director, CIRIA, Classic House, 174-180 Old Street, London EC1V 9BP

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