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Safety initiative targets schools and universities

31 July 2013

A new safety initiative has been launched to target construction work taking place at schools, universities and student accommodation during the summer holidays.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be visiting sites across the North West during the next two weeks (from 29th july) after the latest figures revealed construction workers are nearly four times as likely to be killed at work compared to the average worker.

A total of 39 people lost their lives while working in the industry in 2012/13, despite the sector only employing around five per cent of British workers.

HSE inspectors are expecting to see an increase in construction work during the summer break while schools and universities are closed, and will be making unannounced visits to sites to make sure work is being carried out safely.

They will be paying particular attention to work taking place at height, asbestos issues, the general state of sites and the welfare facilities for workers.

Inspectors also have the power to issue enforcement notices, either stopping work activities immediately or requiring improvements to be made, in cases where sites fall below the minimum legal standards for health and safety.

Neil Jamieson, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction, said:

"There's likely to be lots of work taking place at schools, universities and student accommodation during the summer break but there's a danger lives could be put at risk if firms are rushing to complete work in time for the start of the autumn term.

"Safety has to be the top priority on any construction site and it's simply not worth taking risks to try and finish jobs early. The death rate for construction workers is four times the national average, and employers should be doing all they can to tackle this issue.

"Hopefully the majority of the sites we visit will have high safety standards but we won't hesitate to take action if we find workers are being put in danger."

Further information about working safely in the construction industry can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/construction.