The Health and Safety Executive is to launch an inspection blitz on construction sites in February

The plans have come to light as the Major Contractors Group’s injury statistics indicate that construction is falling short of its targets for accident reduction.

The inspections, which will follow the 2005 Health and Safety Summit, will concentrate on breaches of occupational health regulations. This is likely to be a key issue at the summit, reflecting concerns over the number of days lost because of health problems caused on site.

Areas that will be targeted include lifting mechanisms and practices that cause hand-arm vibration syndrome.

There will also be a crackdown on work that could lead to more general health problems, such as noise-induced hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders and dermatitis.

Sites that fail requirements will be given a deadline to make improvements. In extreme circumstances they could be closed down.

There is clearly no room for complacency. The drive for a safer and healthier industry is relentless

Stephen Ratcliffe, Major Contractors Group

The MCG report, released last week, said there were 290 fatal and major injuries per 100,000 workers from April 2003 to March 2004 among companies in the group. This is a reduction on the 1999/2000 baseline rate of 333 major injuries but falls far short of the target for the whole industry for 2004/05 which is a 40% decline in the base figure.

Stephen Ratcliffe, the MCG’s director, said the industry still had much work to do to improve its safety record.

He said: “While we are very pleased to report a continued year-on-year reduction in reportable accidents, there is clearly no room for complacency. The drive for a safer and healthier industry is relentless.”