HSE is appalled by 'blatant disregard for safety' at 30% of refurbishment sites it visited last month

A third of refurbishment sites blitzed by the Health and Safety Executive last month have been shut down for putting workers lives' at risk.

Inspectors carried out more than 1000 spot checks of refurbishment sites across Great Britain during February and stopped work on 30% of sites. They also served 395 enforcement notices.

The results echo findings from last summer’s check, where enforcement notices were also issued at one in three sites.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chief executive Geoffrey Podger said: “We stopped work on site immediately during approximately 300 inspections because we felt there was a real possibility that life would be lost or ruined through serious injury. Our inspectors were appalled at the blatant disregard for basic health and safety precautions on refurbishment sites across Great Britain.

“HSE will not tolerate negligence or poor safety standards on construction sites. It is totally unacceptable that so many lives have been put at risk and we will take all action necessary to protect workers, including closing sites and prosecuting those responsible. The construction industry should take ownership of this issue and do more to tackle poor standards on sites.”

The HSE construction division reported basic safety precautions were being ignored and work at height remained a concern, sparking more than half the enforcement action. Last year this type of work led to 23 deaths.

Last year more than half the workers who died on construction sites worked in refurbishment and the number of deaths on these sites rose by 61%.