Poor safety standards at small construction sites identified

July 18, 2012

The Wirral and Liverpool are one part of Britain where poor safety standards at smaller building and construction sites have been identified. The Health and Safety Executive has revealed that they are particularly concerned about what appears to be a failure to protect construction workers from the danger of falling and from unstable structures.

In the Wirral area, a member of the public was concerned enough to take a photograph of a local building site where the building site workers were observed at work over 15 metres above the ground without any safety harnesses and any other structures which could have prevented them from toppling to the ground if they slipped.

In North London, the HSE served two separate small construction companies with prohibition orders which were issued because of concerns relating to safety at height working conditions. The poor safety standards were revealed during a routine inspection at the two sites. One of the sites, in Stamford Hill, was completely closed, because the site was judged to be particularly unsafe. One of the issues was the lack of protection at the edges of walkways which is regarded as a basic safety measure to prevent falling.

With regard to unsafe work environments, the Health and Safety Executive said that there were several recommended safety precautions which can be installed at these smaller sites. These include basic things such as the use of safety harnesses and the provision of safety nets under particularly fragile panel areas. Scaffolding should be erected as well, where necessary.

Construction sites routinely have a higher than average injury rate compared to other workplaces. Workplace accidents accounted for 4,000 serious injuries alone last year as well as 38 recorded fatalities from falls at construction sites in the 2010/2011 period.

The safety of workers on construction sites and anywhere else where they have to work at considerable heights is regulated by the Work at Height Regulations 2005. This is basically addressed at employers to provide a safe working environment and prevent workers from falling while at work.

Lamb & Co’s personal injury solicitors regularly deal with construction site accidents which are due to poor workplace safety and it should be pointed out that any worker who suffers injuries due to a fall at a building site is likely to receive serious injuries including spinal injuries and / or brain injuries. This is in addition to any other less serious injuries such as cuts and abrasions and broken limbs.

Any worker who falls from a height because their employer has not provided effective safety provisions is entitled to make a claim for compensation from their employer for any injuries they have received.