Miranda Dobson

Merseyside construction firms flunk health and safety checks

A significant number of construction firms in Merseyside failed health and safety inspections on the first leg of a month long initiative to improve industry standards.

One in six firms out of 123 visited across five days did not meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is visiting construction businesses across the North West as part of a national scheme to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and health issues.

Inspectors are looking at sites where refurbishment or maintenance is being carried out in a bid to bring one of Britain’s most dangerous industries up to scratch.

Out of the sites visited, 22 did not meet the legal standards and 32 enforcement notices were issued, while 18 prohibition notices were distributed which stopped some work being carried out with immediate effect.

HSE said that over the 2011-2012 period, two construction workers died in Merseyside, while 53 people were injured.

Across the country the number of deaths came to 49 and the number of serious injuries came to 2,800.

Inspectors have been making unannounced visits to sites across the North West to ensure companies are maintaining high-risk management activity.

HSE will also inspect welfare facilities and person safety equipment as well as looking for general “good order” on sites.

Neil Jamieson, HSE’s principal inspector for construction in Merseyside, commented: “It’s good news that the vast majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly some sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

“Poorly erected scaffolding, exposure to dangerous types of dust, and inadequate washing facilities were among the poor standards we found on some sites.

“At more than one site, workers were witnessed generating large amounts of dust while cutting through stone without wearing appropriate respiratory masks.

“Exposure to silica dust from stone can lead to potentially fatal lung diseases and so lives were being put at risk as a result.

“I hope by carrying out these spot checks we will help to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work.”

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