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HSE launches safety clampdown on Welsh construction sites

19 February 2013

Unsafe practices on construction sites across Wales 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 in local authority areas across Wales where refurbishment or repair works are taking place.

Between 19 February and 17 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 PPE, such as head protection, is being used appropriately.

During 2011/12, two workers were killed while working in construction in Wales and a further 164 were seriously injured (local statistics at end of release). 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 the Wales Construction Division, 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:

Fatal and major injuries to workers in the Welsh construction industry broken down by county and local authority:

Country Local Authority 2010/11 2011/12
Fatal injuries Non-Fatal Major Injuries Fatal injuries Non-fatal major injuries
Wales Anglesey Unitary Authority 6 5
Gwynedd Unitary Authority 6 8
Cardiff Unitary Authority 21 20
Cardiganshire Unitary Authority 1 2 6
Carmarthenshire Unitary Authority 11 9
Denbighshire Unitary Authority 4 4
Flintshire Unitary Authority 4 1 12
Monmouthshire Unitary Authority 4 4
Pembrokeshire Unitary Authority 12 5
Powys Unitary Authority 1 3 5
Swansea Unitary Authority 14 12
Aberconwy and Colwyn Unitary Authority 8 4
Blaenau Gwent Unitary Authority 10
Bridgend Unitary Authority 5 5
Caerphilly Unitary Authority 4 1 9
Merthyr Tydfil Unitary Authority 6 4
Neath and Port Talbot Unitary Authority 8 8
Newport Unitary Authority 8 11
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff Unitary Authority 1 8 13
Torfaen Unitary Authority 2 4
Vale of Glamorgan Unitary Authority 6 1
Wrexham Unitary Authority 6 5
Total 3 148 2 164

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplacehealth 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 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
    • that suitable PPE, including head protection, is provided and worn at all times
  3. The national refurbishment inspection initiative runs from 18 February to 15 March.

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