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More than 1,100 construction sites fail safety checks

21 October 2013

Poor standards and dangerous practices were found at nearly half of the building sites visited during a month long safety drive.

During a nationwide campaign, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited 2,607 sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place.

Inspectors found basic safety standards were not being met on 1,105 sites.  On 644 sites, practices were so poor that enforcement action was necessary to protect workers – with 539 prohibition notices served ordering dangerous activities to stop immediately and 414 improvement notice issued requiring standards to improve.

The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.

Heather Bryant, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction:

“It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards, where our inspectors encountered poor practice this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding. 

“Through initiatives like this we are able to tackle underlying issues before they become established and we will continue to work with the industry in an effort to drive up standards.

“However those who recklessly endanger the health and lives of their workforce can expect to face tough consequences.”

During the month of September, inspectors made unannounced visits to construction sites to ensure they were managing high-risk activity, such as working at height and the control of exposure to harmful dusts.  Inspectors were also looking for good site order, sound structures and basic welfare facilities.

For more about the initiative, including examples of good and bad practice discovered by our inspectors during the campaign, see our online Safersites pages at:

Notes for editors: 

1.     The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. 

2.      During inspections, HSE inspectors considered whether:

  •  jobs that involved working at height were identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions, such as proper support of structures, are in place
  • equipment was correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
  • proper monitoring and control arrangements to prevent unnecessary exposure to harmful dusts were in place
  • sites were well organised, to avoid trips and falls, walkways and stairs free from obstructions
  • work areas were clear of unnecessary materials and waste and welfare facilities were adequate.

3.      HSE’s construction safety film “Turning Concern into Action” featuring the testimony of victims of construction site accidents can be viewed here:


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