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25th Jul 2024
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HSE warns construction workers 'don't take the risk'

by The Editor at 10:54 19/09/07 (News)
Nearly one in three construction refurbishment sites inspected put the lives of workers at risk, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
This figure comes after the HSE carried out over 1,500 inspections as part of its rolling inspection programme, resulting in enforcement action on 426 occasions in two months.

Stephen Williams, HSE Head of Construction said; "We stopped work on site immediately during 244 inspections because we felt there was a real possibility that life would be lost or ruined through serious injury. It is completely unacceptable that so many lives have been put at risk. Our inspectors were appalled at the apparent willingness to ignore basic safety precautions.

"The simple fact is that despite knowing what they should be doing, too many people are prepared to allow bad practices to continue, even though last year 39 people died on refurbishment, repair and maintenance sites.

"We are determined to tackle this issue head on and will continue to take enforcement action against those rogues who flout safety precautions. Let me be clear to all those who put lives at risk - we will continue to carry out further inspections and will take all action necessary to protect workers, including closing sites and prosecution".

Work at height
Work at height remains the biggest concern. Over half of the enforcement action taken during this inspection initiative was against dangerous work at height, which last year led to the death of 23 workers.

Mr Williams said: "My advice to those who work in the refurbishment sector is to plan work, use competent workers and if working at height use the right equipment and use it safely".

Welcoming the Secretary of State's decision to hold a construction forum to discuss safety standards in the construction industry, HSE confirmed that inspectors will continue to target falls and trips in the refurbishment sector as part of their ongoing work.

More guidance and advice is available at www.hse.gov.uk/construction/index.htm.

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Susie Hughes
The Editor Hardhatter 2007

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