Almost half of the building sites inspected during a month-long spot check campaign were found failing to meet basic safety standards, it has been revealed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say its inspectors found that standards were not being met on 1,105 of the 2,607 sites they swooped on during September.
Practices were said to be so poor on 644 of the sites that enforcement action was required to help protect workers from the risk of having an accident at work, the HSE said.
Inspectors served 539 prohibition notices requiring dangerous activities to stop immediately as well as 414 improvement notices after arriving for the unannounced checks.
The spot check campaign targeted refurbishment or repair work sites where it had been made evident that unsafe practices were taking place. Work on most of the sites was being undertaken by small and medium-sized construction companies.
Inspectors found failing to protect workers from exposure to harmful dust or while they were working at height were the most commonly-found problems together with the provision of inadequate welfare facilities.
Some firms have ‘lack of understanding’
Sites that failed the inspections will be re-checked during follow-up visits while some firms will be asked to submit photographic evidence to demonstrate that their site safety standards have been improved.
Heather Bryant, the HSE’s chief inspector of construction, said the poor practice uncovered by inspectors often went “hand in hand” with a lack of understanding about safety at work issues.
She said: “It is disappointing we are still seeing nearly 50 per cent of sites needing enforcement acts. That said, we are targeting areas of highest risk so I would expect that most of the sites would benefit from our attention.”
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