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Nearly half of all small construction sites fail HSE guides

Nearly half of all small construction sites fail HSE guides

2 January 2017 Email this article

Nearly half of all small construction sites it inspected in 2016 fell below standards in health and safety, worse than in last year’s initiative.

Notes published ahead of the HSE board meeting show that inspectors visited a total of 1840 sites and inspected 2235 contractors. Out of these, 49 per cent of sites fell below standards required to comply with health and safety requirements. It compares with 46 per cent in similar inspections of refurbishment sites in 2015.

Similar health risks 'in common with previous initiatives' were also uncovered in the inspection drives targeting small refurbishment projects during June/July and October/November 2016.

Inspectors had to deal with immediate issues such as worker exposure to asbestos and dusts, ‘particularly silica and wood dust’, 

TUC health and safety officer, Hugh Robertson commented on the findings: “Occupational disease, particularly lung disease, is appallingly high for this day and age.

“Too many companies are ignoring the law on a daily basis, especially construction firms dealing with refurbishment. We need much tougher enforcement and more prosecutions from the HSE to stop cowboys companies flouting the law and putting lives at risk.”

Brian Rye, acting general secretary of construction union UCATT, said the figures showed that health and safety standards on small construction sites “remain a basket case”. 

“Safety laws are being ignored and workers placed in danger,” he added. “It is frankly more by luck than judgement that more workers are not being killed at work. It also shows that the HSE needs greater resources to conduct these initiatives 12 months of a year as they are currently only visiting a tiny amount of sites.”

The results of HSE’s inspection drives are included in chief executive Richard Judge’s report in the agenda for the HSE board meeting held today, 7 December.

The meeting will also discuss HSE’s ‘priority health topics’, as part of both Helping Britain Work Well, HSE’s five year strategy and the health strategy launching on 15 december.

Although the performance in health and safety is poorer, HSE says the inspection drives show it served more enforcement notices than previously. It served 741 enforcement notices and 1059 notifications of contravention, which is an 8% increase on the 2015 initiative.

- See more at: https://sm.britsafe.org/small-refurbishment-sites-fail-hse-inspections-second-year-running#sthash.LTl98Mwl.dpuf