With the number of new construction schemes started across Birmingham City Centre almost doubling in 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are sending inspectors out to sites to ensure firms are complying with health and safety regulations, it announced today (Thursday 3 March).
As the city prepares to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in just 140 days’ time, the HSE has noted increased development across the city potentially raising risks for both workers and the public.
Sarah Hill, one of the HSE inspectors leading the campaign, commented:
“With a high volume of construction sites in the busy city centre, there is inevitably more potential for incidents which can result in life-changing injuries or worse and working environments which can pose respiratory risks and are hazardous to workers’ health and well-being. This week, HSE colleagues and I will be visiting sites across the city to check that employers are managing risk and keeping workers and the public safe. The fatal injury rate in the construction sector is around four times the all-industry rate, while over 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work, so this is reminder to employers that there is no room for complacency or non-compliance.”
During a visit, inspectors look to see how companies keep their workers, and anyone affected by the work they do, healthy and safe. In the event that an employer is breaking the law, an inspector may deploy a range of measures such as issuing an improvement notice which allows a minimum of 21 days for the issue to put right or, in the case of the most serious breaches, prosecution.
Sarah Hill added:
“The majority of work-related illness, injuries and fatalities are wholly avoidable if those responsible for the welfare of their workers follow health and safety guidance and regulation. Construction is a high risk industry, but those that work in it are as entitled as everyone else to go home safe and well at the end of the day.”
Health and safety statistics for the construction industry across the UK:
- 39 fatal injuries to workers in 2020/21
- 74,000 workers suffering work-related ill health (average over 2018/19-2020/21)
- 61,000 non-fatal injuries (averaged over 2018/19-2020/21)
- Four fatalities amongst members of the public.