Bidding to build a safer future

CONSTRUCTION sites across the North East are being put under the safety spotlight as part of an intensive inspection initiative.

The clampdown comes because lives are still being lost and people are still being seriously injured in the industry when people fall from height.

In the financial year up to April, 49 workers lost their lives on construction sites in the UK, with falls from height being the most common cause of fatal injuries.

Throughout this month, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be visiting sites across the region.

Although the initiative will primarily be aimed at those working on the external parts of buildings, the initiative will be looking at all work at height.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in construction that poor standards are totally unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

Rob Hirst, the Health and Safety Executive’s principal inspector for construction in the North-East, said: “Falling from height is the cause of the greatest number of fatalities. All too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put unnecessarily at risk. In many cases, simple changes to working practices can make all the difference.

“Poor management of risk in this industry is unacceptable. As we have demonstrated in the past, we will take strong action if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk.”

During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors will be looking at whether jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.

They will also examine whether equipment is correctly installed, assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly.

Falls from height remains one of the most common causes of fatalities and major injuries in the construction sector in Great Britain, with more than five incidents recorded every day.

Further information on falls and trips in the construction industry is available from http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/campaigns/fallstrips/index.htm