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One in three construction sites in Wales fail safety inspections

10 April 2013

Nearly one-in-three of the construction sites visited in Wales during a month-long inspection initiative failed health and safety checks.

Inspectors visited sites throughout Wales as part of a national Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clampdown aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

A total of 69 of the 224 sites they inspected were found not to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety, and 70 enforcement notices were issued as a result.

They included 44 Prohibition Notices which stopped some work activities immediately and 26 Improvement Notices which required improvements to be made to working practices.

The inspectors visited sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place, to support a drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

They made unannounced visits to ensure companies are 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.

During 2011/12, two workers were killed while working in construction in Wales, and a further 164 were seriously injured. Nationally, 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.

Paul Harvey, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction in Wales said:

"It’s good news that the majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly some sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

"Poorly erected scaffolding, unsecured ladders, exposure to dangerous types of dust and inadequate washing facilities were among the poor standards we found on some sites.

"I hope by carrying out these spot checks we will help to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work."

Further information about working safely in the construction industry can be found online at

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.
  2. During inspections, HSE inspectors considered whether:
    • jobs that involve working at height had been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place
    • equipment was correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
    • sites were well organised, to avoid trips and falls
    • walkways and stairs were free from obstructions
    • work areas were clear of unnecessary materials and waste
    • that suitable PPE, including head protection, was provided and worn at all times
  3. The national refurbishment inspection initiative ran from 18 February to 15 March 2013.

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