Construction safety declaration

01 May 2008

Following this years' european Week for safety & health at work, which focused on construction (see October CE), the industry's leading bodies have signed a declaration aimed at improving safety.

The declaration was signed at the European Construction Safety Summit, held in Bilbao on November 22. It sets out five key actions that need to be taken to raise health & safety standards in Europe's construction industry.

The five actions are: the integration of health & safety standards into procurement policies, ensuring that health & safety is taken into account at design and planning stages; the use of site inspections and other techniques to encourage compliance with regulations; the development of guidelines to help small- and medium-sized businesses comply with legislation; and the development of social dialogue, training agreements and accident reduction targets to stimulate higher standards.

The declaration was signed by the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), the European Federation of Building Wood Workers (EFBWW), the European Builders’Confederation (EBC), the European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA), the Architects’Council of Europe (ACE) and the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE).

Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, director of the European Agency for Safety & Health at work said, “As a result of this declaration, we expect to see significant improvements in safety and health standards throughout Europe's construction industry and commensurately lower costs, both human and financial. This will be in everyone's interests-businesses, workers and clients.”

The European construction industry, which employs 12 million people, has one of the poorest safety & health records of any industry in Europe. According to the latest available statistics for the pre-enlargement EU (the EU 15), each year nearly 1200 construction workers are killed and more than 800000 are involved in accidents requiring three days off work. The financial cost of this is put at €75 billion-more than 8% of European construction output, or €200 per capita of the EU population.

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