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April 8, 2009

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Construction deaths inquiry given extra time

A Government inquiry into fatalities in the construction industry has been delayed by two months.

Chair of the inquiry, Rita Donaghy, was due to submit her report to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, on 30 April. But the DWP has confirmed that the publication of the findings has been put off until June in order to gather additional information.

A spokesman for the DWP told SHP: “We can confirm that the inquiry into the underlying causes of construction fatal accidents will now report to DWP ministers in June 2009. Rita Donaghy met with ministers last week and it was agreed that the inquiry would benefit from more time. There has been a widespread consultation, which has generated a large amount of interest, and Rita is keen to hear the views of as many people as possible.”

Construction union UCATT has welcomed the delay and hopes it will allow the inquiry “sufficient time to examine all areas of the industry”. General secretary, Alan Ritchie, said: “When the inquiry was launched late last year we privately warned that there would not be sufficient time to examine all areas of the industry. Our concerns have now proved to be justified.

“I hope that the extra time that the inquiry will now have will mean that issues including statutory director duties, casualisation, gangmasters, blacklisting, and endemic bogus self-employment will be properly examined. There was a real danger with a truncated inquiry that these issues, which are critical to site safety, could have been glossed over.”

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