News - Construction News

HSE challenge construction sites to ‘Think Health’

HSE target construction sites to ensure long term protection from health risks for workers

The poor working conditions on building sites which are likely to lead to ill health will be targeted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this month as moves to reduce death, injury and ill health in the industry continue. 

It is estimated that for every fatal accident in the construction industry, a worker is at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused, or made worse, by their work. The HSE will begin a two-week concentrated drive, known as Think Health, from today which will see inspectors make unannounced visits across the country, with focus on risks of ill health on construction sites.

The inspectors will be focusing particularly on respiratory risks from dusts including silica materials; exposure to other hazardous substances such as cement and lead paint; manual handling; noise and vibration. Figures show that in 2012/13 a total of 39 construction workers were killed, however more than 500 deaths per year are a result of silica exposure alone. 

HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, Heather Bryant, said:“The construction sector has made good progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured by its activities. We need to tackle where workers are unnecessarily being exposed to serious health risks, such as silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences.”

“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe.

“However, let me be clear – poor risk management and a lack of awareness of responsibilities is unacceptable

“Companies who deliberately cut corners can expect to feel the full weight of the law.”

Further information about the Initiative can be found on the HSE website