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Accidents at work

Quarter of construction sites fail health and safety checks

One in four of the construction sites visited during a month-long inspection initiative failed health and safety checks, new figures have revealed.

More than 400 sites were visited by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors as part of a national clampdown aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

The building sector features consistently in the top three high-risk industries for deaths and injuries.

A total of 93 of the 401 London sites failed to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety.

Specific work activities on some of the sites were deemed to be so dangerous that immediate Prohibition

Notices were served by inspectors, halting further work until standards had been raised.

As well as 114 Prohibition Notices, inspectors also served 22 Improvement Notices, which required particular improvements to be made to working practices.

Inspectors made unannounced visits to ensure companies were managing high-risk activity, such as working at height.

They are also checked for general good order, assessed welfare facilities and checked whether personal protective equipment, such as head protection, was being used appropriately.

Fifty Prohibition Notices were served stopping work activities across 34 sites, the majority concerning work at height but a significant number citing poor excavation or structural support.

Andy Beal, a Principal Inspector for Construction in London, who co-ordinated the initiative, said: “It’s good news that the majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly a sizeable minority sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

“Failures to properly protect workers during construction activities at height, inadequate site management, exposure to dangerous types of dust and inadequate washing facilities were among the dangers and low standards we found on some sites.

“The whole purpose of carrying out these spot checks is to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work.”

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