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Building sites face closure if workers and public are at risk

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 05 October 2010

Newleywed Kieran Deeley, killed at Canary Wharf, and his bride Jennifer

Newleywed Kieran Deeley, killed at Canary Wharf, and his bride Jennifer

GOVERNMENT inspectors are threatening to close down building sites if the lives of workers or the public are in danger. They begin inspections this-morning to stop dangerous practices’ in the construction industry

By Mike Brooke

GOVERNMENT inspectors are threatening to close down building sites if the lives of workers or the public are in danger.

They begin unannounced inspections this-morning (Wednesday) to stop dangerous practices’ in the construction industry, particularly in areas of high activity such as East London with its major building projects.

The Health & Safety Executive wants to raise awareness of risks on sites, especially roofing and refurbishing.

“We will take action if we find poor practice putting the lives of workers or the public at risk,” said the executive’s Construction Ops manager Richard Boland. “This could include closing sites and prosecuting those responsible.

“A lax attitude to safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable.”

East London has a tragic record of construction workers killed on site. Three workers died in 2003 when a crane collapsed in Canary Wharf.

A year later, newlywed Kieran Deeley, an experienced steel fixer, fell 40ft to his death when a hatch cover gave way at another Canary Wharf site. An inquest in 2007 brought in a verdict of unlawful killing.’

Kieran had only been married three months and was planning a family. His widow Jennifer said after the inquest: “It has been a very painful event. How many other families will need to suffer before sufficient action is taken to prevent these accidents happening.”

She began a safety campaign through the UCATT construction workers’ union which led to a court case last year when the company admitted liability.

Construction is one of Britain’s most dangerous industries, with 11 workers having lost their lives in 2008-09 alone, the Safety Executive points out. Inspectors last year issued 270 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work at sites throughout Britain.


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