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24th September 2013

‘Safe Sites’ Initiative Results in Enforcement Action

The HSE has revealed that material breaches have been found at nearly half of the sites visited in their month of unannounced site checks.

The ‘safer sites initiative’, which comes to an end next Friday (27 September), has been targeting poor standards and unsafe practices on Britain’s construction sites. 

This week it was revealed that HSE inspectors have, so far, inspected 1,500 contractors and carried out over 1,000 site inspections.

The update stated that as well as issuing Notices of Contravention at almost half of the sites visited, a number of sites have also been served with enforcement notices.

The initiative has been focusing on the main causes of accidents and ill-health in refurbishment including:

  • falls from height;
  • site organisation;
  • structural stability;
  • asbestos;
  • respirabile silica; and
  • welfare.

The final figures for the initiative will be published by the HSE once all the data has been compiled, however photographs taken by HSE inspectors during the first few weeks of the initiative show both good and bad practices.

The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) general secretary, Steve Murphy, said: “While these initiatives by the HSE are very welcome, inspectors are only visiting a small percentage of all the construction sites in the country. These findings demonstrate why the HSE needs more resources to conduct this type of inspection in all parts of the country throughout the year.”

Results from a similar month-long initiative earlier this year showed HSE inspectors visited a total of 2,363 sites where refurbishment or repair work was underway and saw 2,976 contractors.

Between 18 February and 15 March, 631 enforcement notices were served across 433 sites for poor practices that could put workers at risk, with 451 notices ordering that work stop immediately until the situation was put right.

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