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UK construction sites fail safety checks

Almost half of building sites checked by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) failed basic checks particularly when working at height.

During a nationwide campaign this September the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited 2,607 sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place. Inspectors found basic safety standards were not being met on 1,105 of the sites.

On 644 sites, practices were so poor that enforcement action was necessary to protect workers – with 539 prohibition notices served ordering dangerous activities to stop immediately and 414 improvement notices issued requiring standards to improve.

The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.

Heather Bryant, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said: “It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards, where our inspectors encountered poor practice this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding.”

“Through initiatives like this we are able to tackle underlying issues before they become established and we will continue to work with the industry in an effort to drive up standards. However those who recklessly endanger the health and lives of their workforce can expect to face tough consequences.”

For more about the initiative, including examples of good and bad practice discovered by the inspectors during the campaign go to Safersites pages at:


vertikal editor
We did ask and had the following response:
“I'm afraid the only breakdown we have at this time is the one in the release. We usually get a more detailed breakdown later in the year as part of the planning for the next initiative”

The point is still valid that many small to medium companies working in the refurbishment field are still not carrying out work at height in a safe manner. Given the number of Death Wish photos we receive this should be no surprise.

This is just another indicator of how much potential there still is in the access rental market.

Oct 22, 2013

Eric L
Have HSE published a breakdown of the stats, or is there no more than above ? As it is written, using phrases like " failed basic checks particularly when working at height", but then touse terms like" the most common problems identified included" suggests that in fact "failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities" are in the mix, but not the high priorities.
If the HSE fails to publish a detailed breakdown of the statistics, then in my personal opinion they really aren't helping people target the areas where we really need to put the most effort . It's a situation where transparency in the findings is more important than just some bad numbers

Oct 21, 2013