HSE inspection stops work at dangerous construction sites

A two week long national inspection by the Health and Safety Executive resulted in enforcement action at one in six of the construction sites visited.

While final figures are yet to be confirmed, conditions were deemed so poor in some situations that the work had to be stopped on at least 13 occasions.

The HSE’s chief inspector, Heather Bryant, said: “We recognise the construction sector’s progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured by its activities.

“But it is clear from these figures that there is an unacceptable toll of ill-health and fatal disease in the industry.”

A total of 560 sites were visited and enforcement notices were served at 85 of them.  Action by the regulator included:

  • 13 prohibition notices served (this is where certain work or practices must be stopped until improvements are made)
  • 107 improvement notices handed out
  • A total of 239 health-related notices of contravention served at 201 of the sites

De-constructing site safety standards

Ms Bryant commented: “To encourage the industry to treat health issues in the same way as safety, HSE’s inspectors will consolidate the efforts of this initiative throughout the rest of the year by looking at the prevention and control of health risks in construction, alongside their continued assessment of the management of safety risk issues.

“We will make sure the construction industry ‘Thinks health’ as well as safety.”

The targeted inspections honed in on significant health issues such as respiratory risks from dusts containing silica materials, exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint, manual handling, noise and vibration.

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