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HSE construction inspection campaign

24 November 2017

The HSM Campaigns Hub provides you with information on the latest health & safety initiatives and guidance on how you can get involved. This issue we examine the Health & Safety Executive's Construction Inspection Campaign.

At the beginning of 2017, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) carried out more than 2000 inspections of construction projects across the UK. As a result of the first phase of the initiative, action was taken to address issues in almost half of its visits.

In the autumn, the HSE commenced the second phase of the campaign and the targeted inspection initiative has resulted in numerous visits to more project sites.

The HSE says 43 workers were fatally injured in 2015/16, and an estimated 10 times that number died from construction related ill-health, with a further 65,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries.

HSE is now asking every construction contractor, client and designer to ensure they are not adding to this unacceptable toll of harm by failing to manage well-known risks.

In addition to things such as falls from height, the campaign will focus on control of harmful dusts including respirable silica from concrete, brick and stone, asbestos and wood dust, as well as work at height, structural safety, materials handling, good order and welfare provision.

HSE points to the mis-conception that health issues cannot be controlled in construction. It says harmful dust, whether silica or wood, is a serious issue and can be managed effectively with the right design, equipment and training. Health effects may not be immediate, but the ultimate impact on workers and their families can be devastating.

HSE’s chief inspector of construction and director of construction division, Peter Baker, commented: “In phase 1 of this campaign HSE’s inspectors found lots of good examples of small sites working safely and protecting workers health from exposure to harmful dusts, proving it can be done. My message to smaller businesses is don’t wait for an accident or a visit from an HSE inspector – learn from the success of others and act now.

“Nearly half of construction fatal accidents and injuries reported to HSE involved refurbishment work.

“Some small refurbishment sites continue to cut corners and not properly protect their workers resulting in an unacceptable number of deaths and injuries each year.”