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HSE cracks down on construction sites
3 March 2011
During 2009/10, 42 workers died while working in construction, nationally, and nearly three quarters of these occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities. These will be the main focus of the latest inspections by the HSE.
On the unannounced visits - starting on 14 February - the inspectors will ensure that sites are managing work at height safely and that they are in good order, as well as checking that the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.
Last year inspectors visited 2014 sites and 2414 contractors. They were forced to issue more than 350 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work - much of it relating to working from height.
Philip White, HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction, said: "This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across Britain and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice - those where employers are taking all the measures they can to protect their workers and those where safety is way down the list of priorities.
"A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions. As we've demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice that is putting the lives of workers at risk.
"This year, as part of ensuring risks from asbestos are properly managed, we will also be checking that, where appropriate, asbestos surveys have been carried out prior to any refurbishment work. Many workers believe that, because asbestos has been banned as a building material, it's no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn't true. Any premises built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos."