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HSE Unannounced Building Site Visits Begin In Safety Improvement Drive.

17th December 2013
When the first 2011/2012 figures were released at the end of January by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) - which showed a decrease in the number of serious accidents in the workplace - they also came with a call by HSE for businesses to “put worker safety at the top of their agenda” in 2013.

From Monday 18th February, HSE have rolled out a month long initiative of “unannounced visits” with the stated aim of” improving standards” and reducing death, injury and ill health on construction sites, known for being one of the most dangerous environments. The most common type of workplace accident still involves slips or trips (40 per cent), and falls from a height (more than 20 per cent).

Despite a 9 per cent fall in reported serious injuries from 24,726 to 22,433 between 2010/11 and 2011/12, a total of 111,164 reported non-fatal injuries and 49 fatalities were still reported. With a high volume of accident claims from those injured on building sites heard frequently in court, this latest warning drive from HSE will remind industry employers and their workforce that high safety standards must be maintained or face “enforcement action.”

For four weeks until 15th March, HSE inspectors will visit construction sites or where refurbishment / repair works are being carried out to ensure that high-risk activity, such as working at height, were properly risk-assessed and managed to avoid preventable accidents.

According to the HSE, "In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and can even save lives. Therefore, if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk we will take strong action...”

During an HSE inspection, the following key safety items are examined:

• Suitable personal protection equipment (PPE), including head protection, is provided and worn at all times.
• All machinery and equipment are correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly.
• Construction sites and all work areas are well organised, to avoid trips and falls.
• Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions.
• Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste
• Tasks which involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.

Click here to find out more about safe-working in construction at the HSE website.