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Stealth and safety

It would appear (NCE 18 September) that the ICE Council (and by implication the Joint Board of Moderators) wish to make universities the scapegoats for the poor safety record of the construction industry by refusing to accredit courses which pay inadequate attention to health and safety.

It should be recognised that it is self-defeating to educate students on health and safety when they are going into an industry which seems at times to pay lip service to this.

I believe the best way forward on this is to ensure that the university system has a 100% safety record and sets the appropriate example.

No contract, whatever the size, should be let on minimum tender price alone, as health and safety is often the first to be compromised when costs are pruned.

Any company found guilty by a court of offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act should be removed from the list of approved graduate training schemes.

Similarly, any ICE member found guilty of health and safety breaches should be stripped of membership in perpetuity for bringing the institution and the profession into disrepute.

This may seem draconian, but I believe that only such measures will cause the needed culture change and show that ICE really is concerned with improving the construction industry's safety record.

JA Purkiss (M), J.A.Purkiss@aston. ac. uk

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