HSE sounds alarm over refurb site safety

Almost half of refurbishment sites inspected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over one month this autumn were found to be “unacceptable”. Unacceptable conditions and dangerous practices were found at more than 690 of 1,748 repair and refurbishment sites visited by HSE inspectors. One in five sites were found to be so poor that formal enforcement action was required to halt work.

The full findings of the inspections, carried out between 22 September and 17 October, were:

  • Poor standards/dangerous practices at 40% of sites visited (691 of 1748)
  • On 360 sites, practices were so poor that enforcement action needed
  • 313 prohibition notices issued
  • 235 improvement notices issued
  • Most common issues identified related to work at height and falls (42%), failure to control dust (12%), insufficient welfare (12%) and asbestos (10%)
  • In total 35% of notices were served for health issues (asbestos, dust, noise, vibration, welfare, manual handling).

HSE chief of construction Philip White said: “It is just not acceptable that inspectors had to order work to stop immediately on over 200 occasions because of dangerous practices”.

He added: “We urge industry to ensure the most basic of measures such as use of protective equipment and dust suppression methods are put in place to help protect the future health of workers”.

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