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September 23, 2014

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HSE clampdown targets construction’s poor health record

HSE has announced a month-long initiative to clampdown on poor standards and unsafe work on Britain’s building sites.

The initiative is part of a nationwide drive at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry, and turns the message to ‘Health as well as safety’.

From 22 September, HSE inspectors will carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway. The inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed. These include working with harmful dusts such as silica and asbestos, and other hazardous substances. If unacceptable standards are found inspectors will take immediate enforcement action.

HSE is urging industry to ‘think health’ as over 30,000 construction workers are made ill by their work every year.

Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction, said: “Industry has made much progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured in its activities, but for every fatal accident, approximately 100 construction workers die from a work-related cancer.

“During the recent health initiative, enforcement action was taken on one in six sites. Time and again we find smaller contractors working on refurbishment and repair work failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.

“This isn’t acceptable – it costs lives, and we will take strong and robust action where we find poor practice and risky behaviour.”

Further information about the initiative, results of previous campaigns and safe working in construction can be found online here.

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