Construction activity may be on the rise, but sadly it seems the industry isn't completely free of problems just yet as the HSE alarmingly cut back on the amount of safety visits they make to sites.
Wales in particularly has been hit hard as HSE inspectors cut back visits by 35% - incidentally the same proportion by which its budget has been cut. The information was gained by BBC Radio Wales who submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the HSE. Their inquiry revealed that the number of proactive (i.e. unannounced) inspections dropped from 818 in the 2011-12 period to 529 in 2012-13. The number of prosecutions dropped from three to zero in the same timeframe.
A drop in prosecutions might sound like a good thing and could naturally go hand in hand with less inspections, but alarmingly this has all happened at the same time as a safety blitz in September 2013. During this time, the HSE found that one in three Welsh sites breached safety regulations.
Obviously the news has been of much concern to construction trade unions, with Ucatt regional secretary Nick Blundell warning that the cuts were 'truly alarming'. He added: "Inspections save lives. This fall in inspections is putting construction workers in danger."
He also remarked that with construction finally on the recovery following the long recession, a fall in inspections is naturally going to mean less sites visited. This will be putting new entrants at risk, who are more vulnerable and therefore more at risk of suffering an accident.
This is why it isn't important to know all about health & safety measures on construction sites before starting your new career in the trade. Even the most experienced worker could be at risk, but those fresh out of a construction training course should be wary of what's around them. If you think that your work area is unsafe - don't be afraid to report it.
Via The Construction Index
Via Construction Enquirer
Towards the end of September we wrote up a post revealing some of the horrific conditions the Health & Safety Executive had found construction sites in, and now they have returned with even more shocking images of what some workers are subject to.
The HSE are still compiling the final results of their tour across UK building sites (which ran over the course of September), but their initial figures have ALREADY shown that nearly half the sites they visited had some sort of serious safety failing.
This alarmingly high rate has promoted the Unite union to call for increased funding in order for the HSE to carry out more site inspections.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "The HSE's spot checks throughout September are proof that the Executive needs more capacity and funding.
"The extent of the breaches uncovered also shows why trade union health and safety committees are so important in the construction industry and why we need more.
"The ending of the spot checks will be manna from heaven for the worst employers and unfair to employers who work with unions to get it right. The government’s attack on health and safety must be reversed."
Below is the latest batch of pictures released by the HSE:
Wheeled scaffolding precariously balanced at this site.
This site seems to have absolutely no regard for electrical safety.
Would you use this ladder at the top of a four lift scaffold?
I would hardly call this support adequate.
It looks like the Gas Safe Register aren't the only ones calling for safety awareness this month.
Following (but unrelated to) yesterday's news of the Health & Safety Executive cracking down on a Bolton building firm's unsafe scaffolding, HSE inspectors have announced that they are launching a month-long safety campaign on smaller reburbishment jobs across Britain.
Unannounced inspections will take place on sites where refurbishment or repair works are underway, focusing on working at height and work which could expose builders to harmful dusts. However their inspections will also take a look at whether adequate welfare facilities such as toilets and handwashing facilities have been provided.
Heather Bryant, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said: “Too many people die or are seriously injured every year on Britain’s construction sites as a result of entirely avoidable incidents.
“Just as importantly, workers are unnecessarily being exposed to serious health risks, such as asbestos or silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences.
“Often we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.
“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe. “However, let me be clear – if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk we will not hesitate to take robust action. Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law.”
Via Construction Enquirer
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