UK Government

Health and Safety Executive (London): HSE Clampdown On Unsafe Construction Sites In London

Press Release   •   Feb 14, 2011 11:00 GMT

Over the next month, construction sites across London will be visited as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death and injury in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

During 2009/10 there were 1,287 injuries and four workers died while working in construction across London, all of these occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities. These will be the main focus of the latest inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

On the unannounced visits – starting on 14 February - regional inspectors will ensure that sites are managing work at height safely and that they are in good order, as well as checking that the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.

Last year inspectors visited 230 sites and 202 contractors. They were forced to issue more than 35 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work relating to working from height.

HSE's Principal Inspector Barry Mullen said:

“This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across London and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice - those where employers are taking all the measures they can to protect their workers and those where safety is way down the list of priorities.

“A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions. As we’ve demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice that is putting the lives of workers at risk.

“This year, as part of ensuring risks from asbestos are properly managed, we will also be checking that, where appropriate, asbestos surveys have been carried out prior to any refurbishment work. Many workers believe that, because asbestos has been banned as a building material, it’s no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn’t true. Any premises built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos.”

Notes to editors

  1. Please see attached table for number of injuries by Local Authority area (2009/2010)
  2. During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors will be looking at whether:

Ø Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place

Ø Equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly

Ø Sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls

Ø Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions

Ø Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste

  1. Falls from height remains one of the most common causes of fatalities and major injuries in the construction sector in Great Britain, with more than five incidents recorded every day.
  2. Further information on the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007
  3. Further information on falls and trips in the construction industry
  4. Further information on asbestos can be found

Press enquiries

Cindy Ferguson 020 7261 8529

Matthew Hall 020 7261 8343

Out of hours 0151 922 1221

Public Enquiries

HSE InfoLine,
Caerphilly Business Park,
CF83 3GG
Tel: 0845 345 0055

Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by COI News & PR London

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