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    HSE LAUNCH ANNUAL NATIONAL REFURB INSPECTION BLITZ

    Smaller sites to come under close scrutiny on management of core site hazards

    HSE inspectors are to carry out an inspection initiative aimed at stopping dangerous practices on smaller projects. The initiative will run from 14 February 2011 to 11 March 2011.

    Visiting Inspectors will focus on smaller sites concentrating on working at height, good order on site and asbestos surveys. This is the fourth year the construction inspection initiative has run and, as before, inspectors will be making unannounced visits to sites across GB.

    HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, Philip White said: 

    “This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across Britain and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice. A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable.

    As we’ve demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice is putting the lives of workers at risk.”

    Working at height priorities

    Inspectors will expect principal contractors to:

    • have a system for the procurement and control of contractors that includes arrangements to check their competence;
    • agree with subcontractors the risk control measures they will use; and
    • actively monitor the work of subcontractors to ensure they are actually working to the agreed method

    Contractors and others working on the project need to:

    • identify jobs that involve work at height and plan the work to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place;
    • have a risk assessment in place that applies the Work at Height Regulations hierarchy;
    • have procedures for the selection of correct equipment and ensure that the selected equipment is actually used;
    • communicate risk control measures to the workforce;
    • ensure workers are competent to use the equipment that has been correctly installed/assembled; and
    • arrange inspection and maintenance of equipment as appropriate.
    Good order priorities

    Inspectors will look to make sure that sites are properly organised, with waste streams managed, so that walkways are kept clear of unnecessary obstructions which could cause a trip injury.

    Principal contractors should consider how they will manage the site to ensure that it is kept in good order by:

    • segregating traffic routes from pedestrian routes;
    • managing the procurement of materials to ensure that only the minimum amount of materials are stored on site at any time; and
    • ensuring that everyone working on the site is aware of the site policy for managing the movement and storage of materials around the site, and the removal of waste from work areas.
    Results from 2009 and 2010 inititatives

    During the 2009 initiative HSE found “encouraging signs of improvement” on previous initiatives in 2007/08 although significant amounts of poor practice were found across Great Britain.

    During the 2009 inititative Inspectors found 1 in 5 five sites, and 1 in 5 in five contractors to be working well below the acceptable standard. There was even more widespread enforcement during the in 2010 initiative.

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