• Max Bradford

Labour Minister Max Bradford today announced a nation-wide safety blitz on construction sites in an urgent bid to prevent further deaths.

Workplaces have claimed 46 lives so far in the 1997/98 year, of which 16 were construction workers. This compares with 41 deaths for the whole of 1996/97, of which nine were in the construction industry.

"The 16 deaths in the construction sector over the past nine months is just horrific, and is totally unacceptable to the Coalition Government," Mr Bradford said.

"OSH (Occupational Safety and Health Service) has therefore been directed to launch a nation-wide campaign to inspect construction workplaces and take action wherever there is evidence of unsafe practices.

"I've also directed OSH to find out why so many construction workers are dying, particularly including taking a hard look at the common factors in construction accidents."