Spotlight on construction health and safety with scaffold exercise
10 August 2012
Posted by Michelle Devonshire
An exercise that is intended to enhance the safety of scaffolding in the Midlands and highlight the importance of secure construction sites is taking place this month.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), locations in the West Midlands, Worcestershire and Warwickshire will undergo inspections during a safety drive by the organization.
"Too many workers needlessly die because work was not properly planned or the equipment was incorrectly installed or used," declared Jo Anderson, an HSE Principal Inspector.
Scaffold work will be examined over the three weeks of the exercise, which is intended to reduce numbers of deaths and injuries in UK workplaces.
The region being focused on saw three people die and 250 injured between 2006 and 2011 in incidents that involved fixed or mobile scaffolds. Smaller building and refurbishment sites will be targeted by the HSE to combat poor performance in terms of health and safety standards.
HSE's announcement of the scaffold safety project follows a fine of £2,000 and payment of costs of £3,658 issued to a construction company in Wales after multiple failings were identified during an inspection at one of its sites.
T Richard Jones (Betws), based in Ammanford, was visited by HSE inspectors as part of a routine inspection, with those at a site it was working on at St Michael's Church, Manselton, finding a series of dangers.
Inspectors were informed that the site manager was on holiday and the location was found to have inadequate washing facilities, while workers were not wearing protective glasses and gloves to use lime mortar, and no measures were in place where two individuals were working at height.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health has emphasized the importance of investing in good safety equipment and ensuring it is well maintained, with Phil Bates, the body's Senior Policy and Technical Adviser, suggesting such actions can also reduce costs for businesses by reducing stoppages or downtime.
"Employers need to ensure they are considering the quality, durability and features of any product they offer their workforce," he remarked.