HEALTH and safety experts are beginning a crack down on unsafe working practices on building sites in and around Ashbourne this month.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be part of a team making unannounced visits to construction sites to check high-risk activities, such as working at height, and work which could result in exposure to harmful dusts, including asbestos, are being properly managed.
They will also that check welfare facilities on site are adequate.
Sarah Jardine, the HSE’s principal construction inspector for Derbyshire, said: “Too many people die every year on Britain’s construction sites as a result of entirely avoidable incidents.
“Just as importantly, the causes of ill health, such as unnecessary exposure to asbestos or silica dust can also have fatal or debilitating consequences.
“Often we find it is smaller companies working on refurbishment and repair work who are failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.
“This initiative provides a chance to engage with these firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe. In many cases, simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and even save lives.
“However, if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk we will not hesitate to take robust action. Companies who deliberately cut corners and put their workers or others at risk will feel the full weight of the law.”
Figures show construction workers are nearly four times as likely to be killed at work compared to the average worker, and an estimated 70,000 in the industry are suffering ill health as a result of their work.
HSE figures for the East Midlands show two workers died in the last 12 month period, with 164 major injuries for those working in the construction industry.