The inaugural Health in Construction Leadership Group Breakfast Summit took place yesterday morning, which saw over 150 key business leaders and industry influencers come together discussing issues such as why 100 times more UK construction workers die from work-related ill health than accidents.
The Summit was opened with a key note speech by the Chair of the HSE, Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, who said: “Britain has a proud record on health and safety – it’s one of the best in the world. Our challenge is how we make it even better. Ill-health caused by work activity is one the biggest challenges we face, with 1.2 million people suffering from a work-related illness in 2014/15. It’s through industry groups such as this, the Health in Construction Leadership Group that we can share good practice and reach a collective agreement on the best ways to help Britain work and be well.”
The Breakfast Summit successfully secured the commitment of over 150 companies and industry bodies in eradicating the thousands of cases of ill health and disease caused each year as a result of exposure to health hazards during construction work.
The event was organised and led by the Health in Construction Leadership Group, a collaborative group comprising contractors, clients, professional bodies, trade organisations, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and trade unions.
Companies to pledge their commitment include Balfour Beatty, Bovis Homes, Crossrail, Land Securities, Mace and Skanska, as well as industry bodies such as BOHS, Build UK, CITB, HSE, IIRSM and IOSH.
This cross-industry commitment proves that the issues aligned with health in the construction industry can no longer be second to safety. The Health in Construction Leadership Group has successfully brought industry together in highlighting the disparity between health and safety and witnessed the commitment of industry leaders to a healthier future in the industry.
Following on from this success, the Health in Construction Leadership Group will host their second meeting on 21 April. Welcoming Operational and Health and Safety Directors from those committed companies and industry bodies, the second meeting will see the tactical action plan come together. This will provide industry with the knowledge and means in which to work towards levelling the playing field between health and safety and in eradicating ill health and disease caused each year within the industry.
Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty, Leo Quinn, said: “When 100 times more workers die from occupational disease than from accidents, it’s vital that the industry looks at what more can be done in order to improve health as well as safety.”
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Notes to editors:
The Health in Construction Leadership Group is a recently established collaborative group comprising contractors, clients, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), professional bodies, trade associations and trade unions.
The group’s mission is to unite the construction industry in eradicating ill health and disease caused by exposure to health hazards, with a view to ensuring construction is the leading industry for occupational health and disease prevention.
Photograph: Heather Bryant, UK Health and Safety Director Balfour Beatty, opens the inaugural Health in Construction Leadership Group Breakfast Summit yesterday