One in five construction sites failed health and safety checks during the latest national inspection initiative carried out by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), figures released today reveal.
Inspectors from Britain’s workplace regulator visited 1759 refurbishment sites during March and checked on how 2145 contractors were complying with health and safety regulations.
On around 20% of sites surveyed sufficiently serious risks were discovered to warrant enforcement action being taken – either stopping work immediately or ordering improvements to be made. Close to five hundred enforcement notices were issued.
HSE said that improvements had been witnessed by its inspectors in certain parts of the country since last year – when inspectors had to take enforcement action on 30% of the sites visited.
“This inspection initiative was well publicised and for our inspectors to still find this level of disregard for basic health and safety standards on refurbishment sites is disappointing,” said HSE’s new Chief Inspector of Construction Phillip White.
“While any improvement has to be welcomed, our inspectors still found practices so far below the acceptable standard that they felt it necessary to take enforcement action on one in five sites. This is still very worrying.”
Unsafe work at height practices remain a huge concern. As in the previous initiative, over half of the enforcement action taken this time was as a result of dangerous work at height, which last year led to the death of 34 construction workers.
Last year over half of the workers who died on construction sites worked in the refurbishment, repair and maintenance sector.