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  3. Two out of five construction sites failing workers, says HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that two-fifths of all construction sites inspected as part of a month-long spot check campaign are failing to adequately protect their workers.

According to the HSE findings, unacceptable working conditions and day-to-day practices deemed to be dangerous were found at 40% of the 1,748 sites visited across the UK. More shockingly still, 20% of the sites were found to be failing their workers so badly, formal enforcement notices had to be issued by HSE inspectors.

Perhaps more worrying still was the fact that a high proportion of the issues discovered in the campaign could have easily been prevented; it was suggested that a lack of appropriate planning and management had led to the failings.

The four-week drive by the HSE – the latest in an ongoing series of campaigns by the UK's workplace health and safety body – was targeting health risks.

The chief of construction for the HSE, Philip White, said:

“These results show that whilst the majority of employers in the refurbishment sector are getting it right, a significant part of the industry is seriously failing its workers.

Of the enforcement notices issues, 35% of them were for risks associated with not controlling exposure to harmful materials, disturbances and welfare.

With the control of hazardous materials such as asbestos and dust and the control of excessive noise and vibrations so critical, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) was likely found in many sites.

A further 42% of enforcement notices were issued over working at height failures, with PPE such as harnesses and safety platforms so critical here.

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