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HSE launches safety clampdown on construction sites

Unsafe practices on construction sites are to be targeted as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

During a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain's most dangerous industries, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites where refurbishment or repair works are taking place.

Between 18 February and 15 March, inspectors will make unannounced visits to construction sites to ensure they are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height.

They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable PPE such as head protection, is being used appropriately.

During 2011/12, 49 workers were killed while working in construction and 2,884 major injuries were reported. The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said:

"Death and injury continue to result from avoidable incidents and it is largely those engaged in refurbishment and repair work who are failing to step up to the mark. Poor management of risks and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable.

"In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and can even save lives. Therefore if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk we will take strong action.

"We are determined to drive the message home that site safety and worker welfare cannot be compromised."

Further information about safe-working in construction can be found online at:www.hse.gov.uk/construction

Notes to editors

1.       The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.www.hse.gov.uk

2.       During inspections, HSE inspectors will consider whether:

·      Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.

·      equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly

·      sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls

·      walkways and stairs are free from obstructions

·      work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste

·      that suitable PPE, including head protection, is provided and worn at all times


Info Bite 110
February 2013