HSE inspectors have been visiting construction sites throughout the country over the past few weeks. In fact recently a third of all construction sites visited by the HSE in Wales fell short of the expected H&S Standards. Of the 224 sites across the country visited by inspectors, 69 failed health and safety checks. Inspectors handed out 70 enforcement notices, which included 44 prohibition notices that halted some work activities straight away and 26 improvement notices that instructed companies to improve working practices. Fee for Intervention charges will be going out to these companies in the next 2 months.
The HSE’s current plan targets asbestos; small sites/projects; refurbishment and major projects/large contractors and clients with the following risks and issues considered during site visits:
- Key generic risks – work at height; asbestos; welfare facilities; good order and respiratory risks;
- Leadership – how effective directors and senior management are at leading health and safety;
- Health risks – raising awareness and promoting knowledge of health risks in construction;
- Worker involvement – encouraging effective worker involvement, so every worker plays an active role;
- Contractor Competence – emphasis on the competence of organisations and individuals; and
- Temporary Works – managing temporary works through adequate management arrangements.
Likely developments for 2013-14
A new annual HSE plan for construction will be published in the coming months covering the period April 2013 – April 2014. Major changes are not expected although added priority is likely to be placed on:
- Fragile materials – the management of work on or near fragile materials which accounts for 10 or more deaths every year. This will focus on both clients and contractors;
- Dust control – particularly during roof valley tile cutting and all work with paving and blocks; and
- Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) face fit – provision of properly face fitted RPE.
By Ken Stevens