Cumbrian sites fail health and safety checks

Michael Hunt

More than a quarter of the construction sites visited in Cumbria last week failed safety inspections.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive carried out checks at 45 construction sites in the county during two days of intensive inspections.

They issued a total of 14 enforcement notices at 12 sites on 18 and 19 March, either stopping work immediately or requiring improvements to be made. The majority of the notices covered unsafe work being carried out at height.

Health and Safety Executive advisers also met more than 200 contractors in Cockermouth, where many homes and businesses are now being refurbished following the November floods.

Mark Cottriall, Health and Safety Executive's principal inspector for construction in Cumbria, said: "The majority of the construction sites our inspectors visited had good health and safety procedures in place. But the other 12 sites are letting the rest of the industry down and putting workers' lives at risk.

"We will continue to make unannounced visits to sites, and take enforcement action when necessary, until the message gets across. It simply isn't worth taking risks to try and save money.

"HSE staff were also on hand in Cockermouth to give advice and support to construction workers following the recent floods. I hope it will lead to the refurbishment projects being completed without injury."

Newly released figures from Health and Safety Executive show there were 120 serious injuries on construction sites in Cumbria last year. The intensive inspections took place as part of a month-long initiative aimed at stopping dangerous practices on building sites across Great Britain.

The safety event in Cockermouth was organised as part of the Working Well Together initiative, a partnership between Health and Safety Executive and the construction industry, which aims to improve health and safety in the sector.

The Health and Safety Executive wants to raise awareness of construction site risks to prevent deaths and injuries in the future. The Health and Safety Executive said construction is one of Britain's most dangerous industries, with five deaths and 1,339 serious injuries in the North West during 2008/2009.

The national inspection initiative is focusing on refurbishment, including roofing work. Inspectors are making unannounced visits to ensure that sites are managing refurbishment work, including work at height, safely and that sites are in good order.

Last year, inspectors visited 274 sites across the North West and issued 97 enforcement notices during a similar month-long initiative.

The following table lists the number of serious injuries in each local authority area in Cumbria during 2008/2009. Three day injuries refer to injuries which required workers to take at least three days off work:

Local authority area

Major injuries

three-day injuries
















South Lakeland






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