CONSTRUCTION'S SHOCKING fatality rate is to be addressed by the ICE with a concerted safety campaign.
The Institution wants to improve safe working practices among professional engineers by placing far greater emphasis on health and safety issues in continuing professional development. More resources will be offered to local associations in a bid to increase the availability of suitable courses.
Health and safety already constitutes a core objective of the professional review.
Central to the strategy is a proposal for an ICE register of approved planning supervisors.
Merits of the register are set to be debated in Council next month.
In the shorter term, the ICE will also relaunch its health and safety tome 'Management of health and safety in civil engineering', bringing it up to date with changes in legislation and incorporating the previously separate publication 'ICE legal note: health and safety in construction'.
The ICE announced the initiative in response to figures released last week by the Health & Safety Executive (see news) showing that fatalities in construction are at their highest level for a decade. The number of deaths on site last year is equivalent to six per 100,000 workers, or two killed every week.
Minister with responsibility for health and safety Nick Raynsford, speaking at the ICE last week said: 'These injuries are totally unacceptable and a tragedy. There are no quick fixes and a cultural change is needed in the industry.
'Too much emphasis is placed on lowest cost and not enough on best value. There has to be an investment in training to raise standards, ' he demanded.
Raynsford acknowledged the move by educational institutions to teach health and safety, echoing the ICE's manifesto call for health and safety to be taught as an integral part of every building and engineering course.
ICE president Sir Joe Dwyer responded to Raynsford's comments, adding: 'The industry needs to commit itself to a culture of professionalism and the use of trained personnel.
'Only by ensuring that individuals responsible for design, supply and construction are educated in health and safety will risk be better managed and the horrendous fatalities and injuries in the industry become a thing of the past, ' Dwyer said.