British Contractors Fail the Test

Half of the 2,607 sites visited in September by HSE inspectors failed basic standards.

A national campaign by Britain's Health and Safety Executive turned out badly. About half of the building sites visited during a month-long safety drive in September failed basic standards.

Inspectors visited 2,607 sites where repair work was taking place, and they found basic safety standards were not being met on 1,105 sites. "On 644 sites, practices were so poor that enforcement action was necessary to protect workers – with 539 prohibition notices served ordering dangerous activities to stop immediately and 414 improvement notice issued requiring standards to improve. The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust, and inadequate welfare facilities," according to the agency.

"It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards, where our inspectors encountered poor practice this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding. Through initiatives like this we are able to tackle underlying issues before they become established and we will continue to work with the industry in an effort to drive up standards," said Heather Bryant, HSE's chief inspector of construction. "However those who recklessly endanger the health and lives of their workforce can expect to face tough consequences."

For more about the initiative, including examples of good and bad practice discovered by our inspectors during the campaign, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/campaigns/safersites/index.htm.

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