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Cutting deaths, injuries and ill-health in construction

A RoSPA conference featuring top speakers from across the construction industry will hear that it is time for clients, contractors and suppliers to raise their game if work-related deaths, injuries and ill-health are to be cut.

The Construction Health and Safety Conference 2008, taking place in Birmingham on May 15, will focus on how the industry – particularly the house building sector – can turn around the disappointing increase in deaths seen last year.

Seventy-seven construction workers were killed in occupational accidents in 2006/07, an increase of 18 on the previous year. The housing sector accounted for 37 of the deaths.

Health and Safety Commissioner John Spanswick, Chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction Health and Safety Group, will give the conference's opening address about refocusing safety efforts across the sector and securing fresh commitment to the task.

Louise Brearey, Head of the Health and Safety Executive's Construction Sector, will talk about factors that could bring about change, including the key role of clients and getting tougher with offenders. Peter Fisher, Costain's Group Safety, Health and Environment Director, will give a presentation about developing effective health and safety leadership.

Accident trends in the house building and domestic repair/refurbishment sector will be covered by Shelley Atkinson Frost, Director of Health and Safety at the Construction Confederation. Roger Bibbings, RoSPA's Occupational Safety Adviser, will talk about the new corporate manslaughter law.

The one-day conference, taking place alongside Safety & Health Expo at the National Exhibition Centre, will also feature a presentation on workforce involvement by Edurne Nunez Moreno, an engineer at The Steel Construction Institute. And Paul Reeve, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at the Electrical Contractors' Association and Vice-Chair of RoSPA's National Occupational Safety and Health Committee, will talk about raising competence levels.

Roger Bibbings said: “Construction is Britain's biggest industry, employing 2.2 million people. It is also one of the most dangerous, and more than 2,800 people have been killed in the last 25 years, with many more being injured or suffering ill-health.

“It is crucial that all parts of the industry come together to turn this situation around. Construction activity in the house building sector is set to expand over the coming years, so it is particularly important that we focus on raising standards in this sphere.

“We hope the Construction Health and Safety Conference 2008 will inform and inspire delegates about the roles that they, their employers and the organisations they work alongside can play to make things better.”

For more information on the conference, and details about how to book a place, visit www.rospa.com/nec/. Alternatively, call the RoSPA Events Team on 0121 248 2120 or email events@rospa.com.

· Safety & Health Expo, Europe's largest annual health and safety exhibition, runs from May 13-15 at the NEC in Birmingham. It will feature a wide range of products and services from more than 350 companies. See www.safety-health-expo.co.uk for more information.

RoSPA's mission is to save lives and reduce injuries.

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