More than five incidents involving falls from height in the construction industry are recorded every day, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). During 2010-2011, 50 construction workers died in accidents at work.
Because this industry continues to be one of the most hazardous in which to work, the HSE has in the past month started a crackdown campaign on unsafe construction sites in the south west of England. At this time of year with the tourist system out of the way, many people turn their attention to building and renovation projects and the HSE will be visiting the smaller scale sites, which are responsible for over half of construction industry deaths.
Their unannounced visits started in late September. HSE inspectors are checking to ensure sites are in good order, exposure to asbestos is being legally managed and that work at height is being handled safely.
Joanna Teasdale, HSE Principal Inspector, said: "Many businesses in Bournemouth, particularly those involved in tourism, will be starting work on building and renovation works as the season comes to a close. Construction and renovation is one of the most dangerous industries but serious or fatal accidents can be avoided by taking simple precautions. We will take action if we find poor practice is putting workers’ lives at risk."
The campaign will see HSE inspectors checking that sites are well organised so as to avoid falls and trips; that work areas are kept clear from waste; that stairs and walkways are obstruction-free; equipment is well maintained and inspected, fit for purpose and used safely and that jobs involving working from height are safely planned.
Those who sustain injuries or develop illnesses due to negligent construction site management are more often than not entitled to compensation, and for those who have sadly lost loved ones in a construction site accident, there is usually course for redress too via fatal accident compensation.
Injured construction workers should not feel intimidated about taking action against their employer or contractor. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, you may well have been forced to take time off work, or you may need specialist treatment or care, for which you will need financial assistance.
Employers are covered by liability insurance for such incidents, and they are not allowed to terminate an employee’s contract either because action is being taken.
If you have been injured or have lost a relative in a construction site accident, Stephensons have the specialist expertise to help you. Call us on 01616 966 229 for independent, confidential advice.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’, Kate Sweeney