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One in every five of the construction sites visited by inspectors in South Cumbria last week failed safety checks.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out two days of intensive inspections in South Lakeland and Barrow on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 September, and found eight of the 40 sites visited failed to meet the legally required standards for health and safety.
Inspectors issued nine Prohibition Notices stopping particular work activities immediately, and six Improvement Notices requiring changes to be made to working practices. The majority of the notices related to work being carried out at height, without suitable safety measures in place.
Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of workplace deaths and injuries in Great Britain, and raising awareness of the issue was one of the main purposes of the inspection initiative.
Inspectors also looked at the general state of sites, structural stability, public protection, fire safety and asbestos issues during the checks which targeted sites where refurbishment or repair work is taking place.
HSE Inspector Allen Shute said: “It’s an alarming statistic that, on average, a construction worker is killed or suffers a major injury in Cumbria every nine days.
“The latest inspections we carried out in the southern part of the county show that the majority of companies are doing everything they can to protect workers, but sadly the persistent minority are letting down the rest of the industry.
“Construction work, by its very nature, has risks so it’s therefore vital employers do all they can to make sure lives aren’t put in danger.”
Figures from HSE show there have been four deaths and 195 major injuries reported in the construction sector in Cumbria during the previous five years (2006/7 – 2010/11), including two deaths and 66 major injuries in South Lakeland and Barrow.
Information on improving construction safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/construction.