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Masonry deaths trigger Scottish safety trial

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FEARS ABOUT fatal falling masonry accidents have triggered the launch this month of a Scottish confidential reporting service for people to voice safety concerns, it was confirmed this week.

The launched follows an investigation arising from the death in 2000 of a woman who was struck by coping stones falling off a recently repaired building near Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Records revealed that at least one person per year has been killed or injured by falling masonry or roofing materials in Scotland since 1988.

These incidents are now to be recorded and analysed in an offshoot of the UK wide Confi-dential Reporting on Structural Safety (CROSS) trial now under way.

The Scottish Buildings Standards Agency (SBSA), has asked the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS), which is supervising the 12 month CROSS trial, to run the service.

SBSA develops and administrates Scottish building regulations on behalf of the Scottish Executive.

'We believe there are a lot of near misses as well, ' said Dr Linda Sheridan of the SBSA, who will be in control of the new exercise, dubbed SCOTCROSS.

'A lot of falls occur at night and during storms, when people aren't around.' cottish local authorities will be encouraged to report all instances of materials falling off existing buildings to SCOTCROSS.

Reports will be passed to SBSA in a non-confidential form, but will be made anonymous before being added to the CROSS database.

CROSS director Alastair Soane said SCOTCROSS 'will enable this important safety issue to be properly studied for the first time.

'SBSA will also encourage local authorities to send reports direct to CROSS on any other safety concerns.' The SCOTCROSS trial will run for a year.

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