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HSE Slams Construction Sites in Merseyside

Just Two of Fifteen Sites Visited Escape Enforcement Action


The HSE has expressed its dismay after just two of the 15 construction sites it inspected in Merseyside escaped enforcement action. The 13 Enforcement Notices were issued following an intensive inspection campaign, which focused on refurbishment work on sites across Sefton - concentrating on Southport, Crosby and Bootle.


HSE inspectors arrived unannounced at the sites on 9 June. Seven Prohibition Notices were served immediately, stopping all work activity and preventing it from restarting until remedial action had been taken. Six Improvement Notices were issued where improvement had to be carried out within a specified period.


Infringement of working-at-height safety rules accounted for the majority of the enforcement action, with dangerous and untidy sites also seen as a major problem.


HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: "I was dismayed to find that 13 Enforcement Notices were issued in one day when we inspected just 15 sites. HSE will not tolerate poor health and safety standards on construction sites. A significant number of lives are lost and others continue to be put at risk, particularly within the refurbishment sector. This is unacceptable.


"The inappropriate use of ladders on construction sites is happening less and less frequently, however, many of the access towers and scaffolds used instead were found to be unsafe, without proper hand-rails or toe boards. The risk of serious injury through slips and falls on untidy sites were also a significant concern.


She continued: "There remains a lot of work to be done to improve safety standard in the construction industry in Sefton, and the HSE is determined to drive up standards. Companies have a legal responsibility to protect the lives of workers and site safety should be paramount.


"HSE inspectors are committed to protecting workers by taking firm action against those who continue to flout basic health and safety regulations. This is evident in the number of notices we served during the initiative."


Accidents in UK construction rose by 28 per cent last year, when 77 workmen were killed. Around half of these worked in the refurbishment sector.