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    HSE REFURBISHMENT BLITZ RESULTS

    Half of construction sites visited served enforcement notices

    The HSE Merseyside and Cheshire Construction inspectors recent visits found significant breaches of H&S legislation and led to five prohibition notices stopping work immediately. The initiative was part of a rolling inspection programme targeting poor performing sectors of the construction industry e.g. refurbishment.

    HSE Inspector Catherine Willars said: “Some site managers had reasonable health and safety awareness and were managing jobs well in difficult circumstances, but others were struggling. Persons in charge of construction activities need training and the competence to do so. Training courses are readily available to help site managers and foremen to gain the necessary competence.” The issues dealt with included:

    • risk of falling from scaffolding, roof rafters and into excavations;
    • uncontrolled movement of machinery near excavations and workers;
    • electrical supplies at mains voltage especially in wet areas;
    • welfare facilities falling short of the standard required and;
    • waste materials not managed causing slip and trip hazard.

    Comment: The results of this local initiative paint an all too familiar and depressing picture. Despite copious advice available to small and larger enterprises the HSE messages are still not consistently delivering results on site. The initiative report does not indicate the size of project or contractor involved but it is likely that many involved smaller enterprises. There is an urgent need to consider how the HSE messages can be delivered more effectively to the construction SME sector and what changes to enforcement practices might promote better outcomes.  

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