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SMALLER SITES COME UNDER HSE PRESSURE TO IMPROVE

Safety checks start on external repair projects in Yorks and NE areas

Construction sites in Yorkshire and the NE are being safety-checked during September as part of an HSE inspection initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health when working at height.

The targeted inspections are in response to the continued loss of life and serious injury arising from falls from height. In the year 2011/12, 49 workers lost their lives on construction sites in the UK, with falls from height being a major cause.

In recent months HSE has prosecuted several construction companies in the area following incidents in which workers were injured, including:

  • two directors were fined a total of £80,000 with costs of £19,000 after a teenage worker died following a fall from a barn roof;
  • firm fined £13,500 after workman fell seven metres from the roof due to provision of an inadequate work platform with no edge protection; and
  • roofing contractor fined £23,500 after employee fell through a fragile rooflight on garage roof during repair work wioth measures to prevent falls though the fragile material.

HSE Inspectors will be visiting sites across Yorkshire and towns in the NE of England.

Simple changes to working practices can make all the difference

The initiative will primarily focus on those working on the external parts of buildings, but will target all types of work carried out at height.The key purpose is to remind those working in construction that poor standards are unacceptable and potentially cost workers their lives.

David Stewart, an HSE Principal Inspector in the region , said:

“Falling from height causes a significant number of deaths and major injuries. All too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put needlessly at risk. In many cases, simple changes to working practices can make all the difference.

Poor management of risk in this industry is unacceptable. As we have demonstrated in the past, we will take strong action if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk.”

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