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SERIOUS SAFETY PROBLEMS ON BASEMENT PROJECTS

HSE Inspectors take enforcement action on over a third of sites visited

Visits by HSE Construction Inspectors to over 100 basement project sites in four London boroughs resulted in enforcement action at 37% of the sites. Inspectors issued a total of 76 prohibition or improvement notices.

Four projects were so dangerous that inspectors were forced to close the sites. Over 50% of the prohibition notices served dealt with risks of workers falling from height, either into unfenced excavations or through unprotected floor openings.

Good practice found on some projects

Some firms were getting the basics of basement construction right. Examples of good practice included:

  • engaging a temporary works engineers to detail the required shoring;
  • construction of partial-height underpins to reduce the risk of excavation collapse;
  • designers specifying splices or composite beams to reduce the weights of beams manoeuvred; and
  • welfare facilities in front or rear gardens and the hiring of self-contained portable welfare units.

On 19th January 2012 HSE is running a free awareness for those involved in basement construction, including contractors, project managers and designers at Wandsworth Town Hall. 

To reserve a place at the “Building Basements Safely” contact: Pauline Storey on 020 7556 2100 / pauline.storey@hse.gsi.gov.uk

HSE Principal Inspector Andrew Beal said:

“Safety standards in many basement projects are well short of acceptable, as our inspection initiative shows. Companies constructing basements must not be complacent about the risks.

We encourage contractors, project managers and designers, to attend our free event in January and learn from those in the industry who are already working safely.”

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