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Construction Industry Still One of the Most Dangerous Industries in Which to Work

Apr 2013

Over a recent one month period, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited a total of 2,363 sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place and saw 2,976 contractors across the UK.

Between 18 February and 15 March inspectors made unannounced visits to construction sites to ensure they were managing high-risk activity, such as working at height. Checks were also carried out on whether there was general good order on site, whether PPE was being used effectively and if welfare facilities were adequate.                    (Above) Edge protection - executed correctly    

The outcome of this month long initiative was that nearly one in five construction sites have been subject to enforcement action after failing safety checks.        

631 enforcement notices were served across 433 sites for poor practices that could put workers at risk, with 451 notices ordering that work stop immediately until the situation was put right.

Steve Terry, Managing Director at Astutis said:

A robust and proactive approach to health and safety is a vital component to business success, particularly when operating in this highly regulated sector. During 2011/12 49 workers were killed while working in construction and 2,884 major injuries were reported despite standards improving significantly over a 20 year period. Working towards safety as a ‘core value’ of any organisation will go a long way to improving these figures in the future.

Philip White, HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction commented:

"This initiative has once again shown us that the majority of construction employers do take their responsibilities to their workers seriously.

However, our inspectors also encountered numerous examples of poor practice, from lack of edge protection on stairwells and scaffolding to unsafe storage of flammable materials and inadequate personal protective equipment. None of these are acceptable on a modern construction site.

HSE will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers against reckless employers. It is they who continue to make construction one of the most dangerous industries in which to work."

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