In my last bulletin I highlighted a planned inspection programme that would focus on the construction industry and work at height in particular. The HSE have recently published the outcome of that inspection programme and it would appear that there remains some room for improvement.

In Scotland a total of 78 construction sites were inspected during September. Work was stopped on a small number of sites and in total 15 Prohibition Notices were served. 69 construction sites were inspected in the North East of England with 14 Prohibition Notices served.

These results have come out at the same time as the HSE annual statistics report which states that of 173 fatalities at work in 2011/2012 49 occurred in the construction industry.  It has been suggested that a significant number of those fatalities are attributable to work at height.

The Chief Inspector of Construction at HSE, Philip White, said:

"Year after year, construction continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors in British industry. Though the numbers are down in the long term, thousands of workers are being seriously injured or made unwell by their work.”

Of course it has not all been doom and gloom for the construction industry this year and the completion of the massive construction project required for the Olympics with no fatal accidents provided a shining example of just how well the industry in Britain can perform from a health and safety point of view. Tough economic times may give rise to a temptation to cut corners and may make the standards reached on the Olympic project seem unattainable to many but those in the industry can expect to be kept under close scrutiny by the regulators especially where work at height is involved.