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TOO MANY LONDON REFURB PROJECT BELOW PAR

HSE checks reveal one in four sites failed to meet basic H&S standards

A London construction project inspection initiative ran from 18 February 2013 to 15 March 2013 with a linked series of basement project inspections over two days in February.

HSE inspectors made unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place to check work at height, general good order, welfare facilities and use of PPE.

Results

Over 400 sites were visited by HSE Inspectors as part of a national ‘clampdown’ on the building sector which features consistently in the top three high-risk industries for deaths and injuries. Key findings reported are:

  • Standards – 93 of the 401 sites visited failed to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety;
  • Risk – some sites were so dangerous HSE halted further work until standards had been raised; and
  • Enforcement – 114 Prohibition Notices and 22 Improvement Notices were issued.

Of the total visits, 110 were to look specifically at the construction of domestic basements in three target boroughs – Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham. Fifty Prohibition Notices were served stopping work activities across 34 sites, the majority concerning work at height but a significant number citing poor excavation or structural support.

Sizeable minority letting down rest of the industry

Andy Beal, a Principal Inspector for Construction in London, who co-ordinated the construction initiative, said:

“It’s good news that the majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly a sizeable minority sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

Failures to properly protect workers during construction activities at height, inadequate site management, exposure to dangerous types of dust and inadequate washing facilities were among the dangers and low standards we found on some sites.

The whole purpose of carrying out these spot checks is to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work.”

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