Safety body condemns firms 'risking lives' during development and refurbishment work in Waltham Forest

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a crackdown on construction firms carrying out property development and refurbishment projects in the London borough of Waltham Forest.

Inspectors from the safety body visited 16 sites, serving 12 prohibition notices that demanded that work be stopped due to concerns over unsafe working practices, which included dangerous structure, fire risks, a lack of competent workers and unsafe excavations.

Five improvement notices were also served on the owners of the buildings and on the contractors involved.

Further spot checks will be carried out to ensure the notices are complied with.

HSE inspector Sarah Snelling said: “We have been working with local authority officers in this area for several months and have been appalled at the willingness of building owners and their contractors to ignore basic safety precautions.”

She added: “They are literally risking the lives of those working on these sites as well as others in the immediate area. We will not tolerate poor standards and will take appropriate enforcement action.”

Last year 77 workers died in the construction industry in the UK. Over half of these were in the refurbishment sector, where the number of deaths rose by more than 60% on the previous year.