Construction safety crackdown

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Construction sites in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being put under the safety spotlight as part of an intensive inspection initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

From now until March 16, inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive will be visiting sites across the county where refurbishment or repair works are being carried out. It is part of a national month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

Their primary focus will be high-risk activity such as working at height and also ‘good order’ such as ensuring sites are clean and tidy with clear access routes.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in construction that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action.

During 2010/11, a total of 23 serious injuries were reported while working in construction across Cornwall. There was one death and 217 serious injuries across the south west region as a whole.

Jo Teasdale, HSE’s principal inspector for construction in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, said: “The refurbishment sector continues to be the most risky for construction workers. All too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put at risk. In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference.

“Poor management of risks in this industry is unacceptable. As we have demonstrated in the past, we will take strong action if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk.”

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