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London construction site face HSE clampdown

London construction site face HSE clampdown

17 February 2011 Email this article

During February and March, construction sites across London will be visited as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death and injury in one of Britain's most dangerous industries.

During 2009/10 there were 1,287 injuries and four workers died while working in construction across London, all of these occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities. These will be the main focus of the latest inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

On the unannounced visits - starting on 14 February - regional inspectors will ensure that sites are managing work at height safely and that they are in good order, as well as checking that the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.

Last year inspectors visited 230 sites and 202 contractors. They were forced to issue more than 35 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work relating to working from height.

HSE's Principal Inspector Barry Mullen said:

"This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across London and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice - those where employers are taking all the measures they can to protect their workers and those where safety is way down the list of priorities.

"A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions. As we've demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice that is putting the lives of workers at risk.

"This year, as part of ensuring risks from asbestos are properly managed, we will also be checking that, where appropriate, asbestos surveys have been carried out prior to any refurbishment work. Many workers believe that, because asbestos has been banned as a building material, it's no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn't true. Any premises built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos."

Notes to editors

Please see table below for number of injuries by Local Authority area (2009/2010)

Greater London

Barking & Dagenham London Borough of

28

Barnet London Borough of

36

Bexley London Borough of

17

Brent London Borough of

25

Bromley London Borough of

21

Camden London Borough of

79

Croydon London Borough of

34

Ealing London Borough of

29

Enfield London Borough of

28

Greenwich London Borough of

43

Hackney London Borough of

44

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough of

26

Haringey London Borough of

24

Harrow London Borough of

12

Havering London Borough of

23

Hillingdon London Borough of

44

Hounslow London Borough of

32

Islington London Borough of

48

Kensington & Chelsea The Royal Borough of

53

Kingston Upon Thames Royal Borough of

13

Lambeth London Borough of

40

Lewisham London Borough of

24

London Corporation of the City of

84

Merton London Borough of

16

Newham London Borough of

62

Redbridge London Borough of

22

Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough of

23

Southwark London Borough of

53

Sutton London Borough of

11

Tower Hamlets London Borough of

76

Waltham Forest London Borough of

27

Wandsworth Borough Council

34

Westminster City of

156

Total

1,287

During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors will be looking at whether:

Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place

Equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly

Sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls

Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions

Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste

Falls from height remains one of the most common causes of fatalities and major injuries in the construction sector in Great Britain, with more than five incidents recorded every day.

Further information on falls and trips in the construction industryhttp://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/campaigns/fallstrips/