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Safety awareness key to survival, small consultants warned

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SMALL CONSULTANTS will be forced out of business if they cannot keep up with health and safety requirements, Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke warned last week.

'Whether it is one man or four men they will go out of business if they don't keep up with what is required of the industry, ' he said.

Clarke was speaking at the NCE-organised conference CDM Regulations: Designing for Safety in London last week.

He said that not being able to afford to carry out necessary safety plans and risk assessments was not an excuse for not doing them.

Firms in this position, he said, would eventually find them- selves going out of business, as safety becomes more of a priority for clients.

But independent consultants dismissed Clarke's concerns.

'Additional safety requirements create more work, which would be built in to the rates for the job, ' said Surrey based independent consultant William Ascough.

He said that no small consultant would try to reduce costs by cutting back on health and safety. 'All consultants are aware and accept that health and safety is part of the job, ' he said.

Ascough did agree with Clarke that larger consultants could carry out safety related work for less money by benefiting from economies of scale. 'We tend to do it on a one off basis for individual projects whereas large consultants can re-use it, ' he said.

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