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News

Buying for life in public sector construction, Be the best, say health and safety minister

HSE InfoLine : 28 March, 2006  (Company News)
'Each year approximately 17 workers are killed on essential projects procured by the public sector ', Lord Hunt, Minister for health and safety, said today at a major construction event. 'This human cost is too high a price to pay, both economically and ethically'.
'Each year approximately 17 workers are killed on essential projects procured by the public sector ', Lord Hunt, Minister for health and safety, said today at a major construction event. 'This human cost is too high a price to pay, both economically and ethically'.

'I want the public sector to be exemplary construction clients. I want them to 'buy for life', meaning they become clients who influence the design, construction, maintenance and use of a building, and help raise health and safety standards for all workers involved in such projects.'

Lord Hunt was addressing over 115 delegates, many responsible for public sector construction procurement, at the 'Buying for Life Construction in the Public Sector' event held today at the QEII Conference Centre in London. Lord Hunt chaired the event, which heard key Government Ministers Des Browne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury; John Hutton, Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions and Alun Michael, Minister for Construction, Department of Trade and Industry and public sector clients underscore the importance of Government being an exemplary client, and sharing best practice on completing projects on time and to budget.

Lord Hunt continued:
'The public sector commissions around 40% of construction work in the UK each year hospitals, schools, libraries - at a cost to the tax payer of over 33 billion. As Minister for health and safety I want to see less injury and ill-health incidents in the construction industry during the building, maintenance and refurbishment of our community facilities. As we have heard here today, there is evidence of continuing improvement by many public sector clients in adopting good practice in construction procurement.'

'The timing of this event is no coincidence, public construction projects are growing in size and number. The award of the Olympic Games to London in 2012 offers an ideal opportunity for all those involved in construction to show how they can work together to improve client performance on public sector projects.'

'Government has much to gain from raising its game and controlling construction projects more effectively. It is only by taking ownership of health and safety performance, showing leadership in setting standards and working in partnership with the industry that we will drive out poor health and safety on schemes that we are responsible for.'
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