Lawford Kidd's Blog

Lawford Kidd's injury solicitors' blog designed to cover all areas of the law relating to accident compensation claims, injury claims and no win no fee in Scotland.

Decrease in Health and Safety Inspections on Construction Sites

The Health and Safety Executive has drastically reduced on construction sites in Scotland sparking concerns that employees in one of the most dangerous sectors of employment are at risk of obtaining a serious injury.

The HSE reduced unannounced inspections by more than 55% in the last year following drastic cuts to the health and safety budget by the Westminster government, which has control over such affairs. A number of experts have blamed the cuts to budget as the main reason for the decline in the number of random inspections.

According to data collated by UCATT, through use of a Freedom of Information Act, Scotland saw a drop of 55.7% in the number of random construction inspections being made by the HSE. The drop in Scotland was significantly higher than other countries in the UK, with the nation overall seeing a drop of 8.7% regarding the overall number of surprise inspections. The North of England was seriously affected, however, the overall drop in the number of random inspections was just 2%.

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Scottish Constructions Sites Potentially More Dangerous than those in England

With the number of construction site inspections in Scotland falling by 30 per cent last year, according to the Union for Workers in the Construction Sector (UCATT), the lives of construction workers in Scotland are being put at an increased risk

To explain, despite inspecting 1,248 Scottish constructions sites in 2012/13 and carrying out 1,250 inspections in 2011/12, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) only inspected 881 construction sites across Scotland last year.

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Construction safety still a concern

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has recently turned its spotlight on the construction sector, warning that there is no room for complacency despite a recent fall in the number of accidents within the industry.

The charity is to hold a conference to highlight the need for more to be done to improve health and safety for construction workers. Topics for discussion at the conference will include safety measures, how to prepare in the event of a major accident, and legal implications, including financial and reputational damage as a result of poor health and safety management.

High risk of injury

According to RoSPA, construction workers are nearly four times more likely to be killed at work than the average worker.

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HSE clampdown to reduce death and injury on construction sites

Construction sites are being put under the spotlight as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

During February and March, inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will be visiting sites where refurbishment or repair works are being carried out. This is part of a national drive to improve standards in one of the Britain's most dangerous industries.

Their primary focus will be high-risk activity such as working at height and also 'good order' such as ensuring sites are clean and tidy with clear access routes.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in construction that poor standards are unacceptable, and could result in enforcement action.

During 2010/11, 50 workers were killed while working in construction and 2298 major injuries were reported. 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.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said:

"The refurbishment sector continues to be the most risky for construction workers, all too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put at risk. In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference.”

 

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