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Construction Sites Spot Checks

Posted: Tuesday 18th, November 2014

Forty per cent of construction sites fail health and safety spot-checks

Date: 12 November 2014

HSE is urging the construction industry to ensure basic health and safety
measures are in place after a month long inspection initiative found 40 per cent of
sites failing to properly protect workers.

Unacceptable conditions and dangerous practices were found at nearly half of the
1,748 repair and refurbishment sites visited by HSE inspectors, with 1 in 5 sites so
poor, formal enforcement action was required. Many of the issues found could
have been easily prevented with simple, straightforward management and
planning.

The focus of the initiative was on health risks and 35 per cent of the notices
served were for issues such as management of asbestos, failure to control
exposure to harmful dusts, noise and vibration, and insufficient welfare.

However failure to provide basic safety measures for people working at height was
once again the most common issue found by Inspectors with 42 per cent of all
enforcement notices served for this activity.

HSE’s Chief of Construction Philip White said:

“These results show that whilst the majority of employers in the refurbishment
sector are getting it right, a significant part of the industry is seriously failing its
workers.

“The inability to properly plan working at height continues to be a major issue,
despite well-known safety measures being straightforward to implement. It is just
not acceptable that Inspectors had to order work to stop immediately on over 200
occasions because of dangerous practices.

“We also find health is often overlooked as its implications are not immediately
visible, however the effects of uncontrolled exposure to deadly dusts such as
asbestos and silica can be irreversible. We urge industry to ensure the most basic
of measures such as use of protective equipment and dust suppression methods
are put in place to help protect the future health of workers.

“We need to continue to educate industry through initiatives like this and
encourage a change in behaviour on small projects where over half the industry’s
fatal accidents still occur and many workers become seriously ill.”

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