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HSE start campaign to make refurbishment sites safer

23 March 2011

Until 11 March the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) are visiting building sites - especially small refurbishment sites – across the UK.

The inspections are part of an intensive initiative aimed at reducing death and injury on construction sites.The HSE will be focusing exclusively on smaller refurbishment and repair construction sites, which is where nearly three quarters of all construction site fatalities occur.

On the unannounced visits HSE Inspectors will check to ensure sites are managing work-at-height safely and that the sites are in good order. They will also be checking that workers are not being exposed to asbestos.

One of the first areas visited was Merseyside, where nearly a quarter of sites visited failed safety inspections.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors carried out checks at 88 sites during intensive inspections in the county on 14 and 15 February and 21 of them were found not to meet legally-required health & safety standards.

Several of the sites visited received more than one enforcement notice, either stopping work activities immediately or requiring improvements to be made. In total, inspectors issued 22 prohibition and 21 improvement notices, with more than half of the notices relating to unsafe work being carried out at height.

In Scotland, meanwhile, a different approach is being taken. Construction workers involved in refurbishment projects across the Lothians were being urged to pick up lifesaving advice at a free event on Tuesday 22 February organised by the Working Well Together campaign, a partnership between HSE and the construction industry. The event was held at Oatridge College, Broxburn, West Lothian, specifically to address the issue of working safely when involved in refurbishment, as well as addressing issues of work-related ill health from dust, vibration and materials handling. 

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