It might be April Fools’ Day, but it is no joke that nearly one in four of the construction sites visited by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during March failed safety checks.The HSE announced today that inspectors carried out checks at 2,014 construction sites across Great Britain as part of an intensive inspection campaign aimed at reducing death and injury in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. During unannounced visits, inspectors focused on refurbishment and roofing work to ensure that any work at height was being done safely and that the sites were in good order. 2,414 contractors were inspected during the campaign. A total of 691 enforcement notices were issued at 470 sites, with inspectors giving orders for work to be stopped immediately in 359 instances for either unsafe work being carried out at height or where sites lacked ‘good order’.
The majority of all notices issued related to unsafe work being carried out at height. Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector for Construction, said: “While it is encouraging that many small construction firms have got their act together and are giving health and safety the priority it needs, the fact that our inspectors needed to take enforcement action on almost a quarter of sites, and on a similar proportion of contractors, is a matter of serious concern. “There are still a small number of employers or contractors who continue to put their own and other people’s health and safety at risk. This is unacceptable. I want to make it clear to these operators that we will not hesitate to take action where standards of health and safety are endangering workers lives and livelihoods.” During 2008/09 there were 53 deaths in construction and 11,264 injuries. Last year, inspectors visited 1,759 sites, 2,145 contractors and issued 491 enforcement notices during a similar month-long initiative. We have always known that construction workers face the greatest risk to their health and safety ,but we are very concerned to note that the number of enforcement notices issued by the HSE has risen by 40%. Consequently, we take issue with the HSE’s contention that it is only ‘a small number of contractors who continue to take risks’. These figures suggest that construction sites are actually becoming more, not less dangerous. Bonnar & Company specialises in construction site accidents and offers free, no obligation, expert legal advice to direct employees, sub-contractors, the self-employed and apprentices. Please contact us FREE on 0800 163 978.