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Site safety shows slight improvement

THE safety of construction sites in the UK is improving - but only slightly, according to the HSE.
Nearly one in five construction sites failed safety checks during a national initiative by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to improve construction site safety. HSE inspectors recently visited a total 3,237 sites and saw 4,080 contractors, but 581 sites were found to have practices that put workers at risk with a total of 870 enforcement notices issued and in 603 instances work had to stop immediately. This was described by the HSE as being only a slight improvement on previous years.

'This is just a snapshot, and the number of notices served for unsafe work at height is still unacceptable, particularly when the safety measures are well-known and straightforward to implement,' said Philip White, the HSE's chief inspector of construction.

Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of deaths and major injury and responsible for the largest proportion of enforcement notices 49%, but shows a slight improvement on previous years of 55% in 2010.

Inspectors targeted sites where refurbishment or repair work was being carried out as part of an annual, month-long drive across Britain with the aim of reducing the risk of death, injury and ill health.

The focus was on high-risk activity including working at height and ensuring sites were in 'good order', being clean and tidy with clear access routes.

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