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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looked at over 2,600 construction sites during September. There were breaches of regulations discovered at over 40 per cent of the sites visited.

Basic standards of safety were not followed at 1,105 of the sites in question. However, a more detailed breakdown of the figures is more revealing.

At nearly 650 sites, inspectors from the HSE decided to implement enforcement processes. In 539 instances, the inspectors instructed firms to cease risking the health of workers straightaway. On 444 sites, notices were given to demand an improvement in the situation.

Heather Bryant of the HSE has commented:

“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.”

Major problems were discovered by the safety initiative and many of them related to three areas. First, too little was being done to ensure the safety of employees operating above the ground. Second, insufficient effort was being made to stop people potentially suffering from the impact of dust inhalation. Thirdly, builders were generally not being provided with enough welfare.

While not all of these things were involved in each specific case, they did crop up many times. In relation to the dust issue, the provision of suitable workwear is one idea that can be part of a productive way forward.

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