HSE Begins Nationwide Construction Blitz

Working at height, exposure to harmful dusts, and sanitation are three areas the inspectors will check, according to the agency's Sept. 2 announcement.

Citing poor compliance with standards and unsafe work on many British construction sites, the Health and Safety Executive has begun a monthlong inspection blitz of unannounced site visits. Working at height, exposure to harmful dusts, and sanitation are three areas the inspectors will check, according to the agency's Sept. 2 announcement. HSE is equivalent to OSHA in the United States.

Construction is a high-hazard industry in Britain, with an occupational fatality rate four times higher than the national average.

"Too many people die or are seriously injured every year on Britain's construction sites as a result of entirely avoidable incidents," said Heather Bryant, HSE's chief inspector of construction. "Just as importantly, workers are unnecessarily being exposed to serious health risks, such as asbestos or silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences. Often, we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks. This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe.

"However, let me be clear: Iif we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk, we will not hesitate to take robust action. Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law."

For more information about the initiative, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/campaigns/safersites/index.htm.

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