12 UK sites closed over safety violations

By Patrick Hill26 November 2008

One of the work at height violations discovered by the HSE.

One of the work at height violations discovered by the HSE.

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stopped work at 12 sites in the Waltham Forest area of Greater London because of dangerous working practices, including unsafe work at height.

It also issued ‘improvement notices' at five others following spot checks at 16 property development and refurbishment sites. The HSE took the enforcement action against both the owners of the buildings and the contractors involved. It said it would make additional spot checks to ensure compliance and that failure to comply with the notices is a criminal offence.

HSE Inspector Sarah Snelling said, "Last year 77 workers died in the construction industry in the UK and over half of these were in the refurbishment sector, where the number of deaths rose by more than 60%.

"We have been working with Local Authority officers in this area for several months and have been appalled at the willingness of building owners and their contractors to ignore basic safety precautions. They are literally risking the lives of those working on these sites as well as others in the immediate area.

"We will not tolerate poor standards and will take appropriate enforcement action. Our advice to those who work in the refurbishment and conversion sector is to plan work, use competent workers and, if working at height, use the right equipment and use it safely."

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