25% of London building sites unsafe, HSE investigation finds

Almost one-quarter of all construction sites in London do not provide workers with a safe environment.

That is according to a new investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which established that many places of work in the building sector in the capital are not fit for purpose.

This research involved officials from the watchdog visiting 401 construction sites in London to conduct unannounced health and safety tests over the period of one month in an attempt to cut instances of injury, illness and death among professionals in the industry.

Data compiled by the HSE shows that in 2011-12, four people lost their lives at construction sites in London, while a further 471 individuals sustained serious injuries.

Some 93 of these 401 places of work inspected by the HSE failed to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety, with specific activities being carried out at some of the sites being deemed so hazardous that the experts served immediate Prohibition Notices.

A total of 114 of these warnings - which state that work must stop straight away - were issued, while officials also imposed 22 Improvement Notices across the 401 sites.

The purpose of this investigation was to establish whether companies managing high-risk activities - such as working at height - were doing so properly, while also assessing each site's welfare facilities and if firms had issued adequate protective equipment to their employees.

Just over one-quarter (110) of the visits were conducted at domestic basements in the target areas of Westminster, Chelsea and Kensington.

Principal inspector for construction in London at the HSE and coordinator of this investigation Andy Beal said a "sizeable minority of sites are letting down the rest of the industry" in the capital.

"Failures to properly protect workers during construction activities at height, inadequate site management, exposure to dangerous types of dust and inadequate washing facilities were among the dangers and low standards we found on some sites," he added.

Posted by Emily SwansonADNFCR-1500-ID-801568772-ADNFCR

09/04/2013 16:45