• Lee Calver
  • 24 September 2014

Construction industry under inspection as HSE looks to improve health and safety in the UK

During a month long initiative which kicked off on Monday, the HSE will be carrying out unannounced visits to construction sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

It revealed that ‘health as well as safety’ will be the message as it targets poor standards and unsafe work on Britain’s building sites as part of a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

As of 22 September, HSE Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed. The HSE stated that these include working with harmful dusts such as silica and asbestos, plus other hazardous substances. Organisations are being warned that if unacceptable standards are witnessed, Inspectors will take immediate enforcement action.

Statistics show that over 30,000 construction workers are made ill by their work every year and as a result the HSE is urging the industry to ‘think health’. Commenting, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, Philip White, 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.”

The HSE’s most recent health initiative resulted in enforcement action being taken at one in six sites as a number of smaller contractors working on refurbishment and repair work failed to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.

Philip White warned:

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

Did you know that 50% of all major and fatal injuries to workers in construction occur during refurbishment or repair work? And were you aware that around 75% of fatalities in construction occur on small sites with 15 or fewer workers?

If you are concerned about an impending visit from the HSE, speak to us first – remember, prevention is always far more effective than cure and will also save you money in the long run. Call us on 0871 777 8881 to find out how we can help you.