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Safety crackdown on county building sites

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

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UNSAFE practices on construction sites across Staffordshire are to be targeted as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites across the county where refurbishment and repair works are taking place as part of a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

Two workers were killed while working in construction in Staffordshire during 2011-12 and a further 44 were seriously injured.

Nationally there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.

Inspectors will make unannounced visits to ensure building companies are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height, appropriately.

They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable safety clothing, such as hard hats, is being used correctly.

Nic Rigby, the HSE’s principal inspector for the north Midlands construction division, said: “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 are unacceptable.

“In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference and can even save lives.

“Therefore if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk, we will take strong action.

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

During inspections HSE officials will consider whether jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place and that walkways and stairs are free from obstructions at all times.

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