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Sites fail safety inspections

Posted: Tuesday 9th, April 2013

One in four London construction sites fail safety inspections
Date: 4 April 2013
Release No: LSE/73/23

One in four of the construction sites visited in London during a month-long inspection initiative failed health and safety checks, according to results released today (4 April).

More than 400 sites were visited by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors as part of a national HSE clampdown aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health. The building sector features consistently in the top three high-risk industries for deaths and injuries.

A total of 93 of the 401 sites failed to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety. Specific work activities on some of the sites were deemed to be so dangerous that immediate Prohibition Notices were served by Inspectors, halting further work until standards had been raised.

As well as 114 Prohibition Notices, Inspectors also served 22 Improvement Notices, which required particular improvements to be made to working practices.

The inspectors visited sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place, to support a drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

They made unannounced visits to ensure companies are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height. They are also checked for general good order, assessed welfare facilities and checked whether personal protective equipment, such as head protection, was being used appropriately.

During 2011/12, four workers were killed while working at construction sites in London and a further 471 were seriously injured. Nationally, there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

Of the total visits, 110 were to look specifically at the construction of domestic basements in three target boroughs – Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham. Fifty Prohibition Notices were served stopping work activities across 34 sites, the majority concerning work at height but a significant number citing poor excavation or structural support.

Andy Beal, a Principal Inspector for Construction in London, who co-ordinated the construction initiative, said:

"It’s good news that the majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly a sizeable minority sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

"Failures to properly protect workers during construction activities at height, inadequate site management, exposure to dangerous types of dust and inadequate washing facilities were among the dangers and low standards we found on some sites.

"The whole purpose of carrying out these spot checks is to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work."

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