Health and safety at construction sites continues to be a cause for concern after a national targeted inspection focusing on health risks for construction workers saw enforcement action taken at one in six of the sites that were visited.
During a concentrated two-week period of proactive inspections, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) demanded improvements, and in some cases put an immediate stop to work activities, where they fell short of expected standards.
Inspectors focused on significant health risk issues, such as respiratory risks from dusts containing silica materials, exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint, manual handling, noise and vibration.
Final figures have yet to be confirmed, but conditions were so poor in some situations that the work had to be stopped on at least 13 occasions.
“We recognise the construction sector’s progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured by its activities. But it is clear from these figures that there is an unacceptable toll of ill-health and fatal disease in the industry,” explained HSE’s Chief Inspector, Heather Bryant.
“So, to encourage the industry to treat health issues in the same way as safety, HSE’s inspectors will consolidate the efforts of this initiative throughout the rest of the year by looking at the prevention and control of health risks in construction, alongside their continued assessment of the management of safety risk issues,” she added.
“We will make sure the construction industry ‘Thinks health’ as well as safety,” she concluded.
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