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HSE inspection campaign targets refurb projects

The Health and Safety Executive has launched a month-long inspection campaign targeting refurbishment sites across the UK.

During September the HSE will carry out unannounced checks to identify poor standards and reduce death, injury and ill health in the construction industry.

The HSE said checks would be carried out at sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

HSE chief inspector of construction Heather Bryant said: “Often we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.

“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe.”

Inspectors will assess whether high-risk activities, including working at height and work that could produce harmful dusts, are being properly managed.

Ms Bryant added: “If we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk we will not hesitate to take robust action.

“Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law.”

Last month it was revealed by the Building Safety Group that falls from height increased 60 per cent year on year in the three months to the end of July.

Speaking to Construction News in June, Ms Bryant vowed to concentrate on raising awareness of the “hidden issue” of health risks in the industry to reduce the rate of serious illness, as well as accidents.

Nearly a fifth of construction sites failed the HSE’s most recent inspection campaign in February and March of this year.

The number of fatal injuries in the construction industry fell between April 2012 and March 2013, however construction workers remain nearly four time more likely to be killed at work than the average worker. 

An estimated 70,000 builders are currently suffering ill health as a result of their work.

The HSE’s construction head of operations Mike Cross will take part in a live ‘Twitter chat’ on Wednesday 4th September. Questions about the inspections can be asked during an hour-long session starting at 3pm under the hashtag #askHSE.

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