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Safety blitz targets designer responsibility

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DESIGNER RESPONSIBILITY is high on the list of safety issues being targeted in a country-wide 'blitz' on construction sites launched this week by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The programme of inspections was launched on Monday at Sir Robert MacAlpines' Arsenal football stadium site in north London and will run until 25 June.

The 'FaTaL' blitz is a three pronged attack on the biggest causes of injury on construction sites - falls from height, transport accidents and accidents caused by lifting of loads.

Health & Safety Commissioner Hugh Robertson said at the launch that despite a 'lot of activity' and some success, a targeted 40% reduction in accidents by the end of 2004 was not being achieved.

'There is very little evidence of a cultural change in attitude on sites, ' he said. In particular the three target areas were causing a large number of 'mainly avoidable' accidents.

Designers have a major input in all three areas, added HSE head of construction Phillip White.

On falls from height, the key to prevention is to design out working from height altogether.

White added that re-arranging sites by changing the initial project design footprint could also reduce transport accidents.

Accidents from reversing vehicles, unseen slewings, and collisions caused 13 fatalities last year.

To combat lifting and crane accidents the HSE wants to see more dialogue between contractors and plant suppliers and a more skilled use of cranes.

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