More than 200 construction sites were inspected across Scotland, the North-East and Yorkshire in September and while the majority were found to be managing health and safety appropriately, work was stopped immediately on a number of sites, the HSE has reported.
As a result of the inspections in Scotland, 15 Prohibition Notices were served because the proper precautions were not in place for working at height.
Work on six building sites in Bradford was halted immediately. HSE inspectors served three Prohibition Notices after witnessing how workers were being put at risk because of poorly planned and inadequate use of working platforms and scaffolding. The other three were served for other safety-related matters.
In the North-East a total of 14 Prohibition Notices were also served because the proper precautions were not in place for working at height.
The targeted campaign was in response to the continued loss of life and serious injury arising from falls from height. In the 12 months to April 2012, 49 workers lost their lives on construction sites in the UK, with falls from height being the most common cause of fatal injuries.
Jeanette Reuben, HSE’s Head of Unit (Construction) for Scotland, Yorkshire and the North East, said: “Whilst the initiative was primarily to raise awareness of the problem of unsafe working practices, it is of serious concern that such a significant proportion of sites visited were undertaking work at height in a dangerous manner.
“Straightforward practical precautions are well known in the industry. Safe access equipment is readily available for purchase or hire and there is no excuse for workers, and the self-employed, to put themselves in a position of danger when working at height.
“HSE will continue to maintain a strong enforcement profile where there is blatant disregard to safe working practice.”