Nearly half of construction sites fail safety checks
The HSE has revealed that over 1,100 construction sites failed a safety check during the organisation’s month-long ‘safer sites’ initiative in September.
During the nationwide campaign, the HSE visited 2,607 sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place. Inspectors found that basic safety standards were not being met on 1,105 sites.
The findings revealed that: 644 sites had practices so poor, enforcement action was required to protect workers. 539 prohibition notices were served ordering activities to stop immediately, and 414 improvement notices issued, requiring standards to improve.
Heather Bryant, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said: “It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards, where our inspectors encountered poor practice this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding.
The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.
David Urpeth, a partner and expert in workplace injury at Irwin Mitchell said: “The high number of construction sites found to be unsafe during this initative is simply unacceptable. The building industry is one of the most dangerous sectors for employees, yet the findings of this campaign show that lessons are clearly not being learned by the business.
“The dangers of failing to adequately protect workers cannot be overstated, as we regularly see cases when victims of work accidents have suffered serious, life-changing injuries as a result of basic failings such as a lack of training or vital equipment.”
Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union UCATT said: “These figures expose the truth about construction, which is that many employers are prepared to gamble with workers lives rather than ensure their sites are safe.”
He added that the most common problems are “basic safety requirements”, and that the campaign demonstrated why the HSE should be given resources to increase their level of inspections.