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20th February 2019

HSE Construction Blitz – The Results…

What’s happened?

As warned in a previous post, During October 2018 HSE inspectors completed a blitz of construction and refurbishment sites throughout the UK. What did they find?

Annual Tradition

It seems to be becoming an annual event for HSE construction Inspectors to hit many sites each autumn with unannounced inspections. The main focus of the recent 2018 campaign was ‘health’ related issues such as construction dusts noise and manual handling. Inspectors were tasked with checking whether appropriate arrangements were in place to protect the health, safety and welfare of those working on sites.

What did they Find?

Numbers from the HSE indicate that inspectors certainly didn’t hold back when they found arrangements that didn’t meet their expectations. In fact, breaches were found during a whopping 43% of the visits.

There were over 250 Improvement Notices served and a further 150 Prohibition Notices during this blitz. Inspectors reported that the risks associated with dust and asbestos were poorly managed by many – with 42 of the Prohibition Notices being issued because of failings in these areas. A percentage of the site managers also confessed to having prepared for the HSE visit, with many checking up on the HSE website or speaking with their H&S Advisors prior to an Inspector arriving to check what the campaign was focused on.

What to take from this…

The HSE has certainly raised the bar when it comes to managing the risks associated with construction dusts. In years gone by Inspectors would often accept you issuing an operative with a face mask and letting them get on with it. Now, dust control must be reduced at source, extraction must be used, the mask must be specific for the task and the individual must be face-fit-tested.

Warning. If there are visible signs of dust build up on your sites, especially around saws or other work equipment, you can expect an inspector to ask what’s going on.

Equipment that generates dusts should be connected to an extraction system whenever it’s in use. If an inspector identifies that you’ve failed to do this, the likely outcome is the issuing of an Improvement Notice. As detailed in a previous blog, until you satisfy the Inspector that you have addressed the issues raised, you’ll be charged £129 per hour under the fee for intervention scheme.

If you need help with any aspect of Health & Safety, whether you’re involved in Construction or any other kind of business, contact us through the website or call us on 0845 459 1724 to discuss your requirements. 


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