Clampdown targets construction industry’s poor health record
‘Health as well as safety’ will be the message as poor standards and unsafe work on the North West’s building sites are targeted as part of a nationwide drive aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.
From today (22 September 2014), HSE Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed. These include working with harmful dusts such as silica and asbestos, and other hazardous substances.
During the month long initiative, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair work is underway
If unacceptable standards are found, inspectors will take immediate enforcement action, including halting when necessary any potentially-dangerous activities.
HSE is urging the industry to ‘think health’ as an estimated 9,000 people working in construction in the North West last year were suffering from ill health caused by their work.
Figures also show seven construction workers in the region were killed and 323 suffered a major injury while at work in 2012/13.
Dorothy Shaw, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction in the North West, said:
“The industry has made much progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured in its activities but, for every fatal accident, approximately 100 construction workers die from a work-related cancer.
“A shorter inspection initiative focusing on health risks for construction workers in June saw enforcement action taken at one in six of hundreds of sites visited.
“Time and again we find smaller contractors working on refurbishment and repair work failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.
“This isn’t acceptable – it costs lives, and we will take strong and robust action where we find poor practice and risky behaviour.
“Through campaigns like this we aim to ensure contractors take all risks to their workers seriously, and not just focus on immediate safety implications. They need to put in place practical measures to keep workers both safe and well.”
Further information about the initiative and safe-working in construction can be found online at: www.hse.gov.uk/construction/campaigns/safersites
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