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HSE START CRACKDOWN ON REFURB AND REPAIR PROJECTS

Inspection charging regime will hit those failing to manage projects 

Starting today (18th February) unsafe practices on construction sites undertaking refurbishment or repair works are being targeted by HSE construction inspectors as part of a 4 week HSE national initiative. 

Between 18 February 2013 and 15 March 2013 HSE inspectors will make unannounced visits to projects to check on how high-risk activity e.g. work at height is being managed effectively.

During inspections, HSE inspectors will look for:

  • Work at height – jobs identified and properly planned with appropriate precautions in place;
  • Equipment – correctly installed/assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly;
  • Organisation – sites organised to avoid trips and falls with access free from unnecessary waste etc.; and
  • Welfare – facilities which comply with minimum requirements e.g. toilets, washing facilities, rest areas etc.

During 2011/12, 49 workers were killed while working in construction and 2,884 major injuries were reported. HSE state the purpose of the initiative is to “remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action”.

Poor management and lack of awareness is unacceptable

This is the first time that such a ‘clampdown’ has taken place since the Fee for Intervention regime has been in operation. Errant sites may now expect a substantial invoice in addition to any prosecution and downtime cost.

HSE will recover costs from all relevant parties, including clients, designers and contractors, found to be in ‘material breach’ of the law.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said:

“Death and injury continue to result from avoidable incidents and it is largely those engaged in refurbishment and repair work who are failing to step up to the mark. Poor management of risks and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable.

In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and can even save lives. Therefore if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk we will take strong action.

We are determined to drive the message home that site safety and worker welfare cannot be compromised.”

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