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HSE launches safety clampdown on Scottish construction sites

Date:
18 February 2013

Unsafe practices on construction sites across Scotland are to be targeted as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

To support a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites across the country where refurbishment or repair works are taking place.

From today (18 February) until 15 March, they will make unannounced visits to ensure duty holders are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height.

They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as head protection, is being used appropriately.

During 2011/12, three workers were killed while working in construction in Scotland and a further 316 were seriously injured. Across Britain there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

Jeanette Reuben, HSE Head of Construction for Scotland, said:

"Death and injury continue to result from avoidable incidents and it is largely those engaged in refurbishment and repair work who are failing to step up to the mark. Poor management of risks and a lack of awareness of responsibilities are unacceptable.

"In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference and can even save lives. Therefore, if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk we will take strong action.

"We are determined to drive the message home that site safety and worker welfare cannot be compromised."

Further information about safe-working in construction can be found online at: www.hse.gov.uk/construction

Notes to 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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. During inspections, HSE inspectors will consider whether:
    • jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place;
    • equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly;
    • sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls;
    • walkways and stairs are free from obstructions;
    • work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste;
    • suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including head protection, is provided and worn at all times.
  3. The national refurbishment inspection initiative runs from 18 February to 15 March.
  4. Fatal and major injuries for the construction sector in Scotland 2010/11 by Local Authority:
    Local Authority 2011/12
    Fatal injuries Non-fatal major injuries
    Orkney Islands Council 3
    Shetland Islands Council 3
    Western Isles Council 3
    Aberdeen City of Unitary Authority 19
    Aberdeenshire Unitary Authority 14
    Angus Unitary Authority 7
    Argyll & Bute Unitary Authority 9
    Scottish Borders Unitary Authority 2
    Clackmannanshire Unitary Authority 1
    West Dunbartonshire Unitary Authority 3
    Dumfries and Galloway Unitary Authority 11
    Dundee City of Unitary Authority 1 5
    East Ayrshire Unitary Authority 9
    East Dunbartonshire Unitary Authority 4
    East Lothian Unitary Authority 5
    East Renfrewshire Unitary Authority 1
    Edinburgh Council City of 40
    Falkirk Unitary Authority 8
    Fife Unitary Authority 15
    Glasgow City of Unitary Authority 1 52
    Highland Unitary Authority 20
    Inverclyde Unitary Authority 7
    Midlothian Unitary Authority 1
    Moray Unitary Authority 8
    North Ayrshire Unitary Authority 2
    North Lanarkshire Unitary Authority 17
    Perth & Kinross Unitary Authority 10
    Renfrewshire Unitary Authority 13
    South Ayrshire Unitary Authority 2
    South Lanarkshire Unitary Authority 1 8
    West Lothian Unitary Authority 14
    Total 3 316

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