Lowestoft: praise after HSE visits
HEALTH and safety standards on construction sites in Suffolk and Norfolk have been praised following a series of visits by inspectors from the HSE. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a week of targeted inspections earlier this month as part of its Shattered Lives and Hidden Killer campaigns - and the results showed a big improvement since the last round of visits in 2008.
HEALTH and safety standards on construction sites in Suffolk and Norfolk have been praised following a series of visits by inspectors from the HSE.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a week of targeted inspections earlier this month as part of its Shattered Lives and Hidden Killer campaigns - and the results showed a big improvement since the last round of visits in 2008.
Inspectors targeted nine locations in Lowestoft, 11 in Norwich and 14 in Great Yarmouth as they visited sites where refurbishment, repair and maintenance projects were taking place. The main issues being looked at were working at height, good site order and the risks associated with the removal of asbestos.
Inspectors issued three prohibition notices during the week, which order work to stop until a problem was been resolved to the HSE's satisfaction. The first two notices were issued to one site visited in Dereham and the other was served to prevent employees falling through a fragile roof or from the edge of the roof on a site in Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft.
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Nicola Surrey, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: 'It is very encouraging to see health and safety standards rising in Norfolk and Suffolk. There were big improvements and in most cases health and safety was being properly addressed.
'But we must not become complacent. Construction sites are dangerous places to work and it is important health and safety is properly addressed at all times. There were two sites with serious health and safety issues and any serious risk to the workforce is unacceptable,' she added.
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'While workers in the refurbishment sector continue to be injured and killed, as we stated before our last inspection initiative, HSE will continue to target the contractors and principal contractors on those sites who flout health and safety law and come down hard on them where necessary.'
Last year (2007/08) more than half (52pc) of the British workers who died on construction sites worked in refurbishment, repair and maintenance, in line with a similar shocking statistic the previous year (2006/07). The HSE aims to inspect 1,500 refurbishment sites across Great Britain throughout March, to tackle poor health and safety standards.
During the inspection initiative, HSE inspectors looked at whether:
* Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place
* Equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly
* Sites are well organised, to avoid trips and falls
* Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions
* Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste
* The risks associated with asbestos removal are managed correctly and carried out in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006
* The work force is made aware of risk control measures