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  3. House builder puts £2m safety prize up for grabs

A nationwide housing construction firm has launched a competition to heighten awareness of on-site construction safety, and generate new ideas to improve the wellbeing of workers.

Berkeley Group is offering £2 million in investment prizes to anyone who comes up with an innovative new approach to get people to think more about safe working on building sites.

The group has come up with the campaign as pressure mounts, from the public and the private sectors, for the volume of houses being built to increase.

With greater housing stock urgently required in the UK – to combat leaps in population and property prices – the work is increasingly being done in cramped brownfield sites too. This further raises the risk element for workers.

With the housing needing to be more complex and accessible too, other dangers are presented and, with a young and novice workforce entering the industry, the importance of site safety has been thrust into the spotlight.

From improving risk assessments and working practices, to investing in better, smarter and more adaptable personal protective equipment (PPE), the construction trade is facing one of its bigger challenges in decades.

The managing director of Berkeley Group, Rob Perrins, said:

“The sheer volume of work going on is testing the industry [which] is having to work with less experienced people, in multiple languages.

“That generates fresh hazards in a business that is inherently risky.”

The fund will offer grants for workable solutions ranging from £250 to £250,000 by 2017.

Perrins went on to say that the money can only go so far, however, stressing that the urgent need for completely fresh ideas is the key driving force behind the online Berkeley Innovation Fund.

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