HSE survey finds half construction sites unsafe

During a nationwide safety drive in
September, the Health and Safety
(HSE) found poor standards and potentially dangerous
practices at nearly half of all construction sites visited.
2,607 unscheduled visits to construction sites
where repairs or
refurbishments were taking place, 1,105 failed safety checks by not
meeting basic safety standards.

1/5 of Sites Served With Prohibition

On 644 of the construction sites that failed
safety checks, standards and practices were found to be so poor
that HSE felt that enforcement action was necessary. On 539 of the
sites, around 1/5 of all sites visited, prohibition notices were
served to put an immediate stop to dangerous practices – and a
further 414 improvement notices were served, requiring an immediate
improvement in standards.

Sites Fail to Protect Workers at

During the visits, inspectors were looking
for good site management and order, good welfare facilities, proper
management of high-risk activities and sound structures. Failure to
meet these basic requirements was seen over and over during the
site visits. Failure to protect those working at height, failure to
provide adequate structures such as trade scaffolding, inadequate
welfare facilities and failure to protect workers from exposure to
harmful dust were amongst some of the most common problems.

HSE Chief Inspector Says Findings Are

HSE Chief Inspector Heather Bryant believes
that poor practices are often associated with a poor understanding
of construction, saying “It is disappointing to find a significant
number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety
standards [and] where our inspectors encountered poor practice this
often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding.” She goes on
to say, “However, those who recklessly endanger the health and
lives of their workforce can expect to face tough

HSE Also Finds That Workplace
Injuries Hit an All Time Low

Despite these findings, new HSE figures show
that major injuries in the workplace are 
down 11%
in 2012/2013 from 2011/2012. Fatal injuries, major
injuries such as amputations and burns and workplace related
illness and injuries have all dropped over the last five years.
Although standards on many constructions sites are just downright
dangerous, this fall in major injuries shows that overall, safety
practices are, thankfully, improving.