Great Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a month-long national initiative to identify potentially unsafe practices on construction sites in order to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The initiative will run through March 15.

During this safety initiative, HSE inspectors will make unannounced visits to construction sites to ensure high-risk activities are being managed safely. Specifically, HSE inspectors will consider whether:

  • Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.
  • Equipment is correctly installed/assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly.
  • Sites are well organized to avoid trips and falls.
  • Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions.
  • Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste.
  • That suitable PPE, including head protection, is provided and worn at all times.

"Death and injury continue to result from avoidable incidents and it is largely those engaged in refurbishment and repair work who are failing to step up to the mark. Poor management of risks and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable,” said Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction.

During 2011-2012, 49 workers were killed and 2,884 major injuries in construction were reported in the U.K. This initiative serves to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action. White said HSE would “take strong action” if inspectors discover construction workers are put at risk.

“We are determined to drive the message home that site safety and worker welfare cannot be compromised,” White concluded.

HSE is Great Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. Visit www.hse.gov.uk to learn more.