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HSE cracks down on unsafe construction sites

A crackdown on unsafe construction sites is due to begin as businesses turn their attention to renovations and building projects now the tourist season is coming to a close.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be visiting small-scale projects and refurbishment sites which are responsible for more than half of the deaths in the construction sector, one of the country’s most dangerous industries, in a bid to reduce death and injury.

During 2009 -10, three workers died and 791 were injured while working in construction across the South West (see Notes to Editors). Nationally 50 workers died in 2010 -11; most of these occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities.

On the unannounced visits – starting on Monday 26 September - HSE inspectors will ensure sites are managing work at height safely and they are in good order, as well as checking that the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.

HSE Principal Inspector, Joanna Teasdale, said: “Many businesses in Bournemouth, particularly those involved in tourism, will be starting work on building and renovation works as the season comes to a close.

“Although there will be many examples of good practice, where employers are taking reasonable steps to protect their workforce, there will be others where profit is put before safety.

“Construction and renovation is one of the most dangerous industries but serious or fatal accidents can be avoided by taking simple precautions. We will take action if we find poor practice is putting workers’ lives at risk.”

During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors will be looking at 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.