• Max Bradford

"Even one death in the workplace is one too many," Labour Minister Max Bradford said today when launching the Building and Construction Industry Organisation's National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety and Injury Prevention.

Mr Bradford said the new certificate was a timely and very welcome initiative from the industry.

Statistics for the first nine months of the 1997/98 Government year showed 45 workplace deaths had been investigated by OSH (Occupational Health and Safety), compared with 41 for the whole of the 1996/97 year and 53 the previous year.

Of the deaths over the past nine months, thirteen were in the building and construction industry, compared with 10 in 1996/97.

"These figures, and the human trauma and suffering behind them, are tragic and totally unacceptable," Mr Bradford said.

"It is clearly more important than ever that together, industry - employers and workers - and the Government tackle these issues to make workplaces as safe as possible. But the primary responsibility for safety in workplaces rests with employers and workers, not the taxpayer."

Mr Bradford said the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation's initiative, supported by OSH, had set a challenge and new standard for other industries to follow.