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5th October 2022

HSE launches new Construction Site Inspection Campaign

Cement flowing at construction site

What’s Happening?

HSE has recently announced that its Inspectors will be carrying out over 1,000 inspections to construction sites during October and November, with specific focus on checking how workers are moving heavy or bulky materials.

Recent accident/incident statistics show around 40,000 people in the construction industry suffer a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) each year. The term MSD covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper / lower limbs or the back.

The HSE have concerns that construction workers are picking up injuries and conditions that can stop them working and leave them with long term injuries including struggling to stand, walk, or sit down. There is to be a particular focus therefore on lifting and moving heavy objects – with trades such as brick layers, plasterers and builders being specifically affected.

HSE’s head of construction, said: “Inspectors are visiting a range of construction sites to check the action businesses are taking to ensure their workers are being protected.’’

“Risks must be managed where they can’t be prevented, and risk management arrangements must be reviewed frequently to ensure they are effective.’’

What you Must Do

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 requires employers to reduce risks from lifting, carrying and handling – this should be managed via the risk assessment process using the HSE’s ‘Assess, Control and Review’ model:

Identify and assess: Cleary, sites have many differing materials that need assembling or moving from one place to another. This first step involves identifying and assessing those tasks to be undertaken, the loads to be moved, the operatives undertaking the work and lastly, the environment the work is undertaken in for any significant hazards.

Control: Where risks are deemed to be low, then simple control measures will suffice – however for significant manual handling risks further consideration will be required, and where possible these should be eliminated or at least reduced as far as is practicable. We provide below some key considerations to effectively control manual handling risks on sites:-

  • Use mechanical lifting aids like conveyors, hoists, telehandlers or cranes.
  • Deliver materials directly to their point of use. Plan ahead so that materials can be lifted into the building and distributed by pallet truck.
  • Make the loads smaller or lighter and therefore easier to lift.
  • Use pre-mixed mortar, or concrete pumps / trucks instead of mixing on site
  • Stop materials getting wet which results in them gaining weight and becoming slippery to handle.
  • Use manual lifting and carrying aids including pallet trucks, sack trucks or trolleys
  • Consider the layout of the site to reduce excessive travelling distances of materials
  • Ensure operatives are provided with suitable information, instruction, and training and PPE.

If you have any queries regarding this inspection initiative do not hesitate to call our adviceline today on 0300 303 5228.

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