THE HEALTH and Safety Executive stopped operations at a quarter of the sites visited during its first plant 'blitz'.
Having inspected 200 sites it found evidence that the industry was raising its game on safety, but 55 prohibition notices and 20 improvement notices had to be issued.
The results come alongside news of a Europe-wide push to reduce the principle killer of construction workers - falls from height.
The site blitz by inspectors on the east and south-east of the country last week found a number of sites where workers and vehicles were not properly segregated and several instances of poor visibility from plant.
Philip White, regional head of construction operations, said: 'While we were encouraged that the safety message is getting through, we were disappointed that prohibition notices were served on more than 25 per cent of sites.'
The HSE believes increased guidance and publicity issued before the event helped to encourage safety on site.
Mr White added: 'It was clear that people took notice.'
The primary fault with plant was poor separation of machines from pedestrians, he said.
'It comes down to planning issues and it is surprising that even quite large house building sites needed better planning.'
There were also problems with visibility and maintenance of vehicles.
Mr White said: 'On some older equipment there were no additional visibility aids, even though the machines were working close to people.'
Although the inspectors were concentrating on the broad area of workplace transport, on a number of occasions they had to put a stop to work because of unsupported excavations or insufficient measures to prevent falls from height - a continuing problem for the industry.
The HSE is currently devising its campaign for the Europewide initiative on falls from height, expected to take place in June and September.
Mr White said: 'There are still a number of people who have not got to grips with the issues of preventing falls from height.
'We are looking at how we can respond and we may choose to do another blitz.'