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The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has started one of its biggest ever safety clampdowns, with more than 2,000 site inspections – all unannounced – scheduled for September.

Teams of HSE inspectors will target high risk activities, ensuring the right procedures are in place, training has been done and personal protective equipment (PPE) clothing is worn and available.

In particular, activities that involve working at height will be closely monitored, though each region has its own defined areas of concentration.

The round of site visits is set to last for the entire month, and could go on for longer.

The prime intention of the HSE is not to penalise firms found to be wanting, but more to emphasise the importance of site awareness and risk management.

Not taking the right precautions costs UK firms money, time and most importantly lives.

It is often the legion of SMEs in the country that present the biggest issues, with the HSE's chief inspector of construction, Heather Bryant, saying:

"Often we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks. This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe."

While firms will be helped to recognise risks and address them appropriately, Bryant was eager to advise that swift and firm action would be taken against companies where unnecessary risks were found.

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