HSE Finds Problems Everywhere in Construction Site Blitz

"Over one in three construction sites visited put the lives of workers at risk and operated so far below the acceptable standard that our inspectors served 395 enforcement notices and stopped work on 30 percent of the sites," Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of Britain's Health and Safety Executive, said after that agency's inspectors conducted more than 1,000 spot checks of restoration sites across Great Britain during February as part of its rolling inspection program targeting poor-performing sectors in the construction industry.

"We stopped work on site immediately during approximately 300 inspections because we felt there was a real possibility that life would be lost or ruined through serious injury. Our inspectors were appalled at the blatant disregard for basic health and safety precautions on refurbishment sites across Great Britain. HSE will not tolerate negligence or poor safety standards on construction sites. It is totally unacceptable that so many lives have been put at risk, and we will take all action necessary to protect workers, including closing sites and prosecuting those responsible," he said. "The construction industry should take ownership of this issue and do more to tackle poor standards on sites."

HSE's construction division reported basic safety precautions were not being taken, and work at heights remained a huge concern. More than half of the enforcement actions taken during the blitz involved unsafe work at heights, which last year led to the death of 23 British workers; HSE also said more than half of all construction industry deaths last year were workers who died at restoration sites, where overall fatalities rose by 61 percent from the year before.

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