Threat to close London building sites over safety fears

GOVERNMENT inspectors are threatening to close down building sites in London if the lives of workers or the public are in danger. They are beginning unannounced inspections from tomorrow to stop dangerous practices’ in the construction industry

By Mike Brooke

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

They are beginning unannounced inspections from tomorrow (March 3) in a campaign to stop dangerous practices’ in the construction industry.

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

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

Construction is one of Britain’s most dangerous industries, with 11 workers having lost their lives in 2008-09 alone, the Executive points out.

Another 1,553 injured in construction just in the London area, according to latest available figures.

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Inspectors will make unannounced visits to make sure site managers are coping with height safely.

“Too many construction workers are needlessly injured or killed working on site,” added Mr Boland. “We are concerned about standards in the refurbishment sector, particularly on small projects.

“A lax attitude to safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable. Many accidents are completely avoidable.”

Inspectors last year issued 270 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work while visiting nearly 2,000 sites throughout Britain, much of it relating to working at height.