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HSE Latest Site Inspection Figures Show Merseyside Improvement

17th December 2013
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently released further figures from their campaign to reduce “death, injury and ill-health” by making “unannounced” visits to construction sites – including over 100 in the Merseyside area - between 18 February and 15 March 2013.

The construction industry has consistently been a source of high numbers of fatality, serious injury and accident claims each year. Between 2011 and 2012, a total of total of 111,164 non-fatal injuries, 22,433 serious injuries and 49 fatalities were reported (HSE).

During the 4 week campaign, a total of 2,363 sites were visited by the HSE where refurbishment or repair work was being carried out by 2,976 contractors. As a result, nearly a fifth of the sites were served with enforcement notices after failing safety checks on “high-risk” activities, such as working at height, personal protective equipment (PPE), general good order and welfare facilities.

According to HSE inspectors, “numerous examples of poor practice” were found, including “lack of edge protection on stairwells and scaffolding, unsafe storage of flammable materials and inadequate personal protective equipment.”

Merseyside sites

On a five day visit to Merseyside, one in around six firms, i.e. 22 out of 123 visited did not meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety. As a result, 32 enforcement notices were issued and 18 prohibition notices were served to stop site work with immediate effect. However, the outcome was an improvement on the 2011 “unannounced visits” campaign, which found a quarter of Merseyside's construction sites failed safety inspections, which also saw 52 injuries and 2 fatalities during the year.

Sites around Britain

In other parts of the country, the number of sites, which failed to meet the minimum standards required, were variable:

Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk - 17 fails out of 71 sites.
Somerset, Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire – 61 fails out of 215 sites.
Wales - 69 fails out of 224 sites.
London - 93 fails out of 401sites.

In total, 631 enforcement notices were issued across 433 sites for poor, high risk practices with 451 notices served to immediately halt all work.

HSE’s principal inspector for construction in Merseyside, Neil Jamieson, commented, “It’s good news that the vast majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law ...” while at the same time, HSE chief inspector of construction, Philip White, agreed that “This initiative has once again shown us that the majority of construction employers do take their responsibilities to their workers seriously.”

Hopefully, by the next HSE campaign, there will be a reduction in the number of the 49 total deaths and 2,800 serious injuries on UK sites, last year.