The Health and Safety Minister at the Department for Works and Pensions Lord McKenzie of Luton attended the SEC Group Board Dinner on 3 March. The discussion centred on the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) Forum which is an umbrella organisation to facilitate mutual recognition between health and safety pre-qualification schemes. SEC Group is a founder member of SSIP and is actively working to ensure that the benefits of SSIP are made clear to contractors.
The Health and Safety Executive supports the work of SSIP and the arrangements by the member schemes of the Forum to achieve mutual recognition in relation to Core Criteria established in the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) for the Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2007.Lord McKenzie welcomed the admission of more schemes into the Forum which included the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA), British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) and the British Standards Institution (BSI).
Lord McKenzie added I fully support the view expressed in the "˜One death is too many Report by Rita Donaghy that "the existence of a myriad of separate pre-qualification schemes diverts contractor time and resource that could be more effectively used to improve standards of health and safety on site.
The SEC Group Chairman Trevor Hursthouse said that "˜SEC Group is fully committed to the progress of the SSIP. It is now time for all sectors of the industry to give their full backing. It is now vital that the Government gives consideration to requiring all firms working on public sector projects to belong to one of the SSIP scheme providers. Subsequent to the meeting Paul Reeve of the Electrical Contractors Association, who represents SEC Group on the management board of SSIP commented that "SSIP members have taken the bold step of ensuring mutual recognition between their various assessment schemes.
This has made some early inroads into reducing paperwork for our members, though excessive safety bureaucracy is a major problem and we have a very long way to go. We encourage other pre-qualification schemes to join SSIP, but most of all we encourage clients and major contractors to take a good look at what SSIP has to offer, and give it full support in their supply chains.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The SEC Group comprises the construction industrys six premier trade associations. They are the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors; the British Constructional Steelwork Association; the Electrical Contractors Association; the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association; the Lift and Escalator Industry Association; and SELECT (Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland). Together these associations have a total membership of 7,120 firms.
2. Safety Schemes In Procurement (SSIP) Forum ; Over the years the proliferation of health and safety pre-qualification questionnaires has placed increasing burdens on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to repeatedly pre-qualify for both public and private sector work. For most SMEs, Stage 1 pre-qualification has become a source of excessive paperwork and significant cost. This situation has become an unacceptable business burden to many small contractors and in turn, leads to a negative view of health and safety in SMEs.
3. Rita Donaghys report to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions "˜One Death is too Many Inquiry into the Underlying Causes of Construction Fatal Accidents. July 2009.
4. Any enquiries should be addressed to John Nelson Executive Secretary of SEC Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7 313 4819