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Proposed scrapping of Tower Crane Register criticised

29 Nov 11 One of the key proposals of the Lofstedt Review of health and safety regulations " the scrapping of the Tower Crane Register " has come under heavy fire from construction union UCATT.

The Register was introduced in 2010 following a series of fatal accidents involving cranes.

George Guy, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said: “The latest fatality involving a tower crane was just a matter of weeks ago. Cranes by their very nature are dangerous especially if they are not properly maintained or erected. Rather than scrapping the register it should be extended to include all industries and all forms of cranes.”

UCATT has warned that many recommendations in the Lofstedt Review will lead to an increase in accidents in the construction industry.

In his report Reclaiming Health and Safety For All, Professor Lofstedt recommends that self-employed workers who “pose no risk to others”, should be exempt from health and safety laws.

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UCATT believes that this will create a legal nightmare, unless construction and other high-risk industries are clearly exempted from his recommendations. Over half of workers in the construction industry are officially classified as self-employed although many of these workers are falsely self-employed.

Guy said: “This proposal from Lofstedt would be disastrous if implemented in the construction industry. Workers would not know if they were covered by safety legislation. While, companies would try to divest themselves of safety duties, by increasing the number of false self-employed workers. Already construction companies all too often fail to comply with basic safety legislation and this proposal will make a bad situation far worse.”

UCATT is also concerned at proposals to review the Working at Height Regulations 2005, because it has been suggested that some companies have over rigorously implemented them. Falls from height remain the most common type of fatal accident for construction workers.

Construction is the most dangerous industry in the UK. Last year (2010/11) 50 construction workers were killed a 22% increase on the previous year.

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