Scotland business

Inspectors in Scottish construction site safety call

Silhouette of builders on construction site

Health and safety officials are calling on construction firms to take action after a month-long inspection drive found almost 40% of sites were failing to protect workers properly.

Inspectors found "dangerous practices" at many of the 145 sites they visited.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said some repair and refurbishment sites in Scotland were so poor that formal enforcement action was required.

It urged builders to ensure basic measures were in place.

HSE said many of the health and safety issues found could have been prevented easily with straightforward management and planning.

'Dangerous practices'

HSE's principal inspector of construction, Graeme McMinn, said: "These results show that whilst the majority of employers in the refurbishment sector are getting it right, a significant part of the industry is seriously failing its workers.

"The inability to properly plan working at height continues to be a major issue, despite well-known safety measures being straightforward to implement.

"It is just not acceptable that inspectors had to order work to stop immediately on 27 occasions because of dangerous practices."

He added: "We also found health is often overlooked as its implications are not immediately visible, however the effects of uncontrolled exposure to deadly dusts such as asbestos and silica can be irreversible.

"We urge the industry to ensure the most basic of measures, such as use of protective equipment and dust suppression methods, are put in place to help protect the future health of workers.

"We need to continue to educate the industry through initiatives like this and encourage a change in behaviour on small projects where over half the industry's fatal incidents still occur and many workers become seriously ill."

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