ICE MEMBERS are being challenged to demonstrate their commitment to designing safely by joining the ICE's newly formed Health & Safety Register.
The register, launched at Great George Street last week, will for the first time allow experienced engineers to benchmark themselves against a defined level of competency in the application of health and safety.
The Institution hopes that the register will prove popular with clients who are seeking best practice in their projects, which in turn will make it popular with consultants wishing to gain competitive advantage.
'We have launched this register because we want to help clients find a way to do health and safety better, ' said ICE director general Tom Foulkes.
The register will also provide individual engineers with an additional line of defence should anything go wrong.
'One of the hardest things in health and safety is being able to prove that you have done enough, ' explained ICE health and safety board chairman Liz Bennett. This is not complete protection, but it is something to add to your suite of defences.'
The register comes in response to growing concerns about construction's appalling safety record.
Last February the then construction minister Nick Raynsford said that he expected companies representing 50% of construction turnover to start measuring their health and safety performance (NCE 1 March 2001).
'It is a national scandal that so many people get killed in the industry, ' said Foulkes. 'Since 1964 the construction industry has killed six times as many people as any other industry.
'We cannot continue working like this, and it is important that the Institution is leading the way with an initiative that may help stop it, ' he added.
Foulkes wants health and safety to be a major campaign for the Institution. 'I feel passionate about not killing people unnecessarily and I would be dismayed if any of our members do not feel the same way.'
Getting onto the register will be intentionally rigorous.
Applicants will need to have 10 years experience working in the construction industry, with both a sound working knowledge of the design process and experience of the site processes.
Competence will be demonstrated through a detailed application form, interview and open-book test.
Once on the register, engineers will need to resubmit their CPD record biennially.
INFOPLUS For more information contact ICE health and safety coordinator Peter Fry (020) 7665 2213.