London construction site face HSE clampdown
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)
Barking & Dagenham London Borough of
Barnet London Borough of
Bexley London Borough of
Brent London Borough of
Bromley London Borough of
Camden London Borough of
Croydon London Borough of
Ealing London Borough of
Enfield London Borough of
Greenwich London Borough of
Hackney London Borough of
Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough of
Haringey London Borough of
Harrow London Borough of
Havering London Borough of
Hillingdon London Borough of
Hounslow London Borough of
Islington London Borough of
Kensington & Chelsea The Royal Borough of
Kingston Upon Thames Royal Borough of
Lambeth London Borough of
Lewisham London Borough of
London Corporation of the City of
Merton London Borough of
Newham London Borough of
Redbridge London Borough of
Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough of
Southwark London Borough of
Sutton London Borough of
Tower Hamlets London Borough of
Waltham Forest London Borough of
Wandsworth Borough Council
Westminster City of
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/