Inspections target building sites

Health and safety

24.04.2009

Construction site managers in South London have been warned to make health and safety a priority following a series of inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE inspectors visited 40 sites in Wandsworth, Lambeth, Greenwich, Croydon, Bromley and Southwark last month, and took enforcement action at 10 of them after identifying a range of problems.

The targeted inspections formed part of the HSE's Shattered Lives and Hidden Killer campaigns and looked at issues including work at height, good site order, and risks associated with work in properties where asbestos is present.

The HSE's principal inspector for construction in South London, Andrew Beal, said: "HSE does not tolerate poor safety standards on construction sites, and where lives are being put at risk we will take the necessary action to protect workers, including closing sites and undertaking prosecutions.

"Construction sites can be dangerous places in which to work and it is important that health and safety is properly addressed at all times.

"Many of the sites in South London had unacceptable safety standards, and a quarter were subject to enforcement action due to clear examples of dangerous working practices."

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Colin Ettinger from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "The law imposes various duties on employers. If they complied with them, then the likelihood of workers sustaining serious injuries would be virtually nil. Unfortunately this is not always the case and, as a result, thousands of workers are killed or maimed every year.

"The HSE's role is to ensure that employers comply with these laws. It is reassuring that they are taking the type of action that they are in South London. This will save lives and reduce the risk of injury."