The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today launched a month long campaign targeted at improving poor safety standards and unsafe systems of working on building/construction sites across Britain. Despite extensive health and safety legislation already existing for these sites, current figures show that individuals working there are four times more likely to have a fatal accident than the average worker. Approximately 70,000 people are currently suffering the effects of injuries sustained on a building site.

Common problems that we have seen contributing to the number of construction site accidents include a high turnover of workers with an impact on training and regulation, small businesses operating with a lack of safety awareness or expertise and multiple businesses operating at one site with a lack of clarity or communication about responsibilities.

It is understood that during this clampdown HSE inspectors will make unannounced checks at sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway. Inspectors will visit construction sites to ensure high-risk activities, such as working at height and work which could result in exposure to harmful dusts, are being properly managed. They will also that check that basic welfare facilities, including toilets and hand washing facilities, have been provided where necessary.

The campaign’s aim is to drive home a message to those working in the industry – that poor risk management and a lack of awareness of responsibilities are not only unacceptable but can cost lives.

Philippa Luscombe, head of the personal injury team at Penningtons, said: “Every year we deal with a number of personal injury claims arising from accidents occurring on building sites. Many are entirely avoidable and result from absence of knowledge of safety issues and legislation or a conscious lack of adherence to guidelines. In the main, the accidents we see are serious – often resulting in life changing or fatal injuries. This campaign is therefore a really positive step to improve site safety and we hope it will increase awareness of safety needs and requirements.”