HSE Announce A New Safety Initiative Of Inspections

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced a new safety initiative of inspections targeting construction work taking place at schools, universities and student housing in the North West from Monday 29 July.

The two week safety initiative will see inspections from the HSE visiting construction sites in the North West. The visits will be unannounced to ensure that work on sites is being carried out safely. The inspectors will look particularly at working at height, working safely with asbestos issues and general site safety and workers’ welfare issues. The visits are planned during the summer break, as HSE inspectors expect to see increased work on construction activity while schools are empty outside of term time.

Neil Jamieson, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction, said: “There’s likely to be lots of work taking place at schools, universities and student accommodation during the summer break but there’s a danger lives could be put at risk if firms are rushing to complete work in time for the start of the autumn term.”

Workers in the construction industry are four times more likely to die at work over the national average, according to the most recent figures released by the HSE. Thirty-nine deaths were reported on construction sites last year. While the overall number of workplace deaths fell in 2012/13 to 0.5 deaths per 100,000 workers, in the construction industry that number is at 1.9 deaths at work per 100,000 individuals.

“Safety has to be the top priority on any construction site and it’s simply not worth taking risks to try and finish jobs early,” Jamieson said. “Hopefully the majority of the sites we visit will have high safety standards, but we won’t hesitate to take action if we find workers are being put in danger.”

HSE inspectors will be issuing enforcement notices during the safety initiative if they find a site that is not meeting the minimum legal standards for health and safety. Enforcement notices can stop work on the site all together, or require improvements to be made. Additionally, companies will be responsible for costs under the Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme.

FFI, which was introduced in October 2012 is a cost recovery scheme that reimburses the HSE for an inspector’s time finding and resolving a material breach during the course of an inspection. Sites which are found to be contravening health and safety law in the opinion of the HSE inspector, and issued with a notice in writing – including improvement or prohibition notices – will have to pay a fee of £124 per hour for the amount of time used by the HSE to identify and take action against the material breach.

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