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    Over 40% of refurb and repair sites fail basic health and safety checks

    During September 2013 HSE Construction Inspectors made unannounced ‘clampdown’ visits to refurb and repair projects throughout the UK.

    Inspectors were checking that high-risk activities e.g. work at height and the control of exposure to harmful dusts, were being properly managed and controlled. In addition, HSE also considered good site order, sound structures and basic welfare facilities.

    Poor standards and dangerous practices were found at nearly half of the sites visited during the month long safety drive. HSE now report:

    • Visits – 2,607 refurbishment or repair work sites visited;
    • Failed – 1,105 sites failed to meet basic safety standards;
    • Enforcement – 644 sites revealed practices requiring enforcement action;
    • Prohibtions – 539 prohibition notices served stopping work immediately; and
    • Improvements – 414 improvement notice issued requiring standards to improve;

    The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.

    Poor practice hand in hand with a lack of understanding

    Heather Bryant, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction:

     “It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards, where our inspectors encountered poor practice this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding.

    Through initiatives like this we are able to tackle underlying issues before they become established and we will continue to work with the industry in an effort to drive up standards.  

    However those who recklessly endanger the health and lives of their workforce can expect to face tough consequences.”


    Latest data from HSE shows that the average Fee For Intervention charge is running at £428.

    This initiative found that 1105 sites “failed to meet basic safety stanadards”. It is therefore likely that those in ‘material breach’ are facing invoices totally over £1/2 million.


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