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HSE kicks off construction blitz

HSE InfoLine : 07 June, 2004  (Company News)
Construction sites across Great Britain will be inspected by the Health and Safety Executive during June 2004 as part of a Europe-wide inspection campaign to reduce the number of fatal and serious injuries in the industry.
Construction sites across Great Britain will be inspected by the Health and Safety Executive during June 2004 as part of a Europe-wide inspection campaign to reduce the number of fatal and serious injuries in the industry.

As an example of good practice, inspectors visited Ashburton Grove Stadium, the future home of Arsenal FC, to look at the safe working methods used on site.

In announcing this blitz, Hugh Robertson, member of the Health and Safety Commission said:

'As part of our 'Revitalising Health and Safety' strategy, HSC has identified the construction industry as a priority area. Because of its poor health and safety performance and its size, the industry contributes the major share of fatal and serious injuries in the GB's workplaces.

'I am also most pleased that industry is working in support of HSE's Blitz. Partnership working is at the core of the Commission's new strategy for workplace health and safety, and this is an excellent early example of what we want to see. Industry creates the risks and it is industry that has to take the lead in controlling them so that we can secure our vision in which our health and safety performance leads the world - and in which health and safety is the cornerstone of a civilised construction industry in a civilised society.'

Speaking from Ashburton Grove Kevin Myers, Chief Inspector for Construction said:

'Every fatality is one too many, most are preventable, each a tragedy for those affected. In the last two months 4 construction workers have died from either a fall from height, being struck by a moving vehicle or being hit by a moving load. HSE inspectors will be visiting construction sites across the country during June targeting these issues. We will continue to work with industry to help reduce the unacceptable toll of construction deaths.'

The blitz will be focusing on the three major causes of fatal and serious injuries in construction, falls from height, transport on sites and lifting heavy loads. Inspectors will be looking to see that proper assessments of risks have been carried out and that hierarchy controls are in place.

On site inspectors will expect to find:

Assessment of the risk from all work at height
Traffic management plans as port of the health and safety plan and
Lifting operations planned by trained, competent and appointed persons
Prior to the site blitz phase, HSE's construction sector will issue 4 pages of free guidance to industry stakeholders; copies are available for clients, designers, planning supervisors and contractors involved in construction procurement, design and planning.

The guidance, available from the FaTaL Risks Campaign helpline on 01582 444248, [email protected] or details health and safety matters that should be considered by designers, included in contractor risk assessments and the project health and safety plan accepted by clients before work starts.

Accidents resulting from falls, transport or lifting are a high priority for HSE, it is likely that enforcement action, including prohibiting work, will be taken on sites where effective precautions are not in place. Inspectors will follow-up all cases where significant failings are identified to ensure that the relevant dutyholder identifies the underlying causes and prepares a programme to secure improvements. This follow-up work will involve clients, designers and planning supervisors where appropriate. However, by giving this advice, we hope such action will be unnecessary in most cases.
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