Five health and safety priorities for the next government

Five health and safety priorities
APS has five key demands for the next government (Photo: Lorpic99 |

The Association for Project Safety (APS) has launched an election manifesto with five key demands, describing them as “essential life savers”.

The health and safety wishlist calls for more investment in training and skills and the fast-tracking of visa processes for skilled immigrants with proven experience and identifiable, ‘provable’ skills in the construction sector.

A spokesperson for APS, which represents design and construction risk management professionals, said: ”It is crucial to balance the push for new housing with environmental protections and retrofitting initiatives to ensure sustainable growth.”

The association’s demands are as follows.

1. Training and skills development

Issue: There is a significant shortage of skilled workers to meet the housing targets set in all the main party manifestos, and especially in the Tory and Labour documents.

Solution: Invest in comprehensive training programmes and real, meaningful apprenticeships to build a skilled workforce capable of safely constructing the planned 1.5+ million homes likely to be needed over the next five years.

Action: Immediate allocation of funds and resources to training centres and educational institutions – with enforceable output targets.

2. Planned and selective immigration (short term)

Issue: APS members report that the current domestic workforce is insufficient to meet critical housing targets in the short term.

Solution: Implement a planned and selective immigration policy to attract skilled workers from abroad, similar to the Australian model. This would be a short-term tactic for five years.

Action: Fast-track visa processes for skilled immigrants with proven experience and identifiable, ‘provable’ skills in the construction sector.

3. Long-term construction workforce development

Issue: Many UK college and university training programmes are insufficient to meet the demand for skilled workers.

Solution: Enhance and expand apprenticeship programmes to ensure a steady pipeline of skilled workers for future projects.

Action: Partner with industry leaders and educational institutions to design and implement effective programmes relevant to modern methods of construction and developing technologies.

4. Environmental protection in planning

Issue: Proposed fast-track planning on brownfield sites and abandonment of nutrient neutrality pose environmental risks.

Solution: Ensure all planning and construction projects adhere to strict environmental protection standards to prevent uncontrolled pollutants in sensitive environments.

Action: Implement rigorous environmental impact assessments for all new construction projects. Some pioneering local authorities are showing this can be done; much more could be achieved with government backing.

5. Retrofitting existing buildings

Issue: The focus on new builds overlooks the potential of retrofitting existing structures to meet modern housing needs and environmental goals.

Solution: Develop a robust and realistic retrofit programme to improve existing buildings’ energy efficiency and safety.

Action: Allocate funding and incentivise homeowners and businesses to retrofit their properties.

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  1. Absolutely spot on especially that about refurbishment of existing buildings, although some of us would prefer to see it referred to as conservation of existing buildings.

  2. Investing in adoption of smart systems and AI applications should be another item in addition to very valid five points you have identified. It must be fast tracked especially after the recommendations of Building Safety Act.

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