Construction is the country's biggest employment sector, with 2.2 million workers. Sadly it is also responsible for the largest number of fatalities, with 42 deaths in 2009/10. This programme examines the statistics, starting with a look at the industry's long-term track record.

The HSE's strategy to target five operational activities – asbestos removal, small sites, refurbishment, house building and major projects – is examined, followed by a look at five generic site issues: welfare, transport, working at height, asbestos risks and maintaining 'good order'.

In 2008/09 the HSE successfully prosecuted 860 cases, resulting in £12.4m worth of fines. We take a look at its carrot and stick approach to enforcement, including its recent initiative to team up with stakeholders such as the supply chain, local authorities and the Working Well Together group.

About the contributor

Philip White was appointed HSE Head of Construction in March 2009 following a four-year secondment to the Department for Work and Pensions where he advised ministers on health and safety policy and the work of the Health and Safety Executive.

Philip joined HSE as a factory inspector in 1985. In 1999, he was seconded to the then Department of Environment, Transport and Regions, in the Construction Policy Directorate to help implement the recommendations of the 'Rethinking Construction' report.

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