Half of sites fail HSE refurb blitz

Latest statistics from the Health & Safety Executive show that construction companies are failing to meet basic requirements on smaller scale projects.

The chief executive’s report to the Health & Safety Executive board meeting on 7th December 2016 highlighted the continuing dangers faced by construction workers.

The HSE conducted 1,840 visits to small refurbishment sites in June/July and October/November this year. Inspectors found that 49% of sites did not meet safety standards. They issued 741 enforcement notices and 1,059 notices of contravention.

Inspectors had to deal immediately with a number of dangers; safe working at height was a particularly prevalent issue, as was the management of asbestos and silica dust.

A similar blitz on small refurbishment sites in 2015 found problems on 46% of sites visited; 692 enforcement notices and 983 notifications of contravention were served.

Brian Rye, acting general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: “This shows that safety standards on small construction sites remain a basket case. Safety laws are being ignored and workers placed in daily danger. It is frankly more by luck than judgement that more workers are not being killed at work. It also shows that the HSE needs greater resources to conduct these initiatives 12 months of a year as they are only able to visit a tiny amount of sites.”