Unannounced inspections will target poorly performing areas

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced a safety blitz on sites throughout Cheshire as part of a rolling programme to target poor performance in the construction industry.

HSE inspectors will conduct unannounced inspections on house building and property refurbishment sites around the county on 9 December.

These sections of the industry account for 60% of all accidents in construction, despite representing only 40% of all construction activity.

A region-wide initiative was carried out in February earlier this year, during which 187 inspections were conducted across the North-west. Enforcement action was taken in 103 cases.

Areas under scrutiny include work areas which must be clear of necessary materials and waste, stairs free from obstructions, precautions in place for jobs involving work at height and the use of suitable equipment.

HSE Inspector Catherine Willars warned: “The HSE will not tolerate poor health and safety standards on construction sites. The number of lives lost and those that continue to be put at risk on construction sites, particularly within the refurbishment sector is unacceptable.

She added: “HSE inspectors are determined to protect workers by taking necessary action against those who continue to flout basic health and safety precautions. Such action could include closing sites and prosecuting those responsible.”

Around half of 77 workmen deaths recorded last year were in the refurbishment sector.