Eleven sites received an unannounced visit from the HSE last week and as a result work was stopped on all but one site. Working at height and good site order on refurbishment jobs were the focus of the inspection activity.
HM principal inspector of health and safety Jim Skilling said: "Our inspectors were appalled at the willingness to ignore basic safety precautions.
"We will not tolerate poor standards and will take appropriate enforcement action proactively as well as when an accident occurs."
Last year 77 workers, ten of whom were from Scotland, died in the construction industry in Great Britain. Over half of these were in the refurbishment sector, where the number of deaths rose by 61 per cent.
HSE aims to inspect 1000 refurbishment sites across Great Britain throughout February to tackle poor safety standards.