On 21 February 2013, we reported on the HSE’s plans to crack down on construction site safety across Britain. The national campaign aimed to raise standards, and to emphasise that poor standards are unacceptable and can result in enforcement action.

The month-long initiative saw the HSE visit a total of 2363 sites (where refurbishment or repair works were being undertaken) and also 2979 contractors. The HSE has now confirmed that nearly one in five construction sites it visited as part of the initiative have been subject to enforcement action. A total of 631 enforcement notices were served in respect of poor safety practices which could potentially put workers at risk, with 451 notices ordering work to stop immediately until corrective action is taken.

During the site visits, HSE Inspectors sought to confirm whether high-risk activities were being correctly managed. They also inspected equipment (including its installation, assembly, maintenance and operation), as well as considering the proper use of protective safety wear and general good order on site.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said that the initiative has “once again shown that the majority of employers do take their responsibilities to their workers seriously. However, our inspectors also encountered numerous examples of poor practice”. He confirmed that the “HSE will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers against reckless employers...who continue to make construction one of the most dangerous industries in which to work”.

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