HSE construction inspection results show appalling safety failings

Construction union UCATT have described the latest results of the Health and Safety Executive’s construction inspection programme “as appalling”.

The month long survey found that 40 per cent of sites visited were failing to properly protect workers. Danger levels were so bad on 20 per cent of sites that immediate enforcement action was required.

While the inspection regime was particularly focused on health risks the most common failing was the failure to safely work at height. Last year, half of all fatal construction accidents were as a result of falls from heights.

The failure to manage health risks was also a significant factor with failings found concerning the management of asbestos, failure to prevent workers exposure to dust, noise and vibration and a lack of basic welfare facilities.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “These findings are simply appalling. Time after time employers are putting workers in danger. The HSE inspections only touch a tiny fraction of construction sites and most construction workers never see an HSE inspector unless a major accident has occurred.”

Mr Murphy added: “The HSE are uncovering basic and straightforward safety breaches. It is imperative that far greater emphasis is applied to uncovering dangerous construction practices and prosecuting the guilty. Construction employers will never improve safety unless they fear being caught.”

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