A quarter of construction refurbishment sites in the North West were found to be endangering workers' lives during a two-month inspection blitz by the Health and Safety Executive.
Of the 154 sites visited across the region, 38 were served with prohibition notices to stop work immediately until corrective action was taken. Of these, 19 were in Cheshire and Merseyside, ten in Greater Manchester with the remaining nine in Lancashire and Cumbria. In two cases, the HSE is considering prosecution of the offending contractors.
Stephen Williams, HSE's head of construction, said: "Our inspectors were appalled at the apparent willingness to ignore basic safety precautions. It is completely unacceptable that so many lives have been put at risk."
The majority of prohibition notices issued during the campaign related to working at height, where unsafe procedures pose an obvious danger to workers' health and safety.
The findings follow a series of fatal accidents on sites in Liverpool. Last week six workers were injured when scaffolding collapsed at the site of the new art and design academy of Liverpool John Moores University. In January, a Polish workman was killed when a crane fell 120ft on Seel Street and Colquitt Street. In March, a man was killed when another crane toppled at Wavertree Boulevard.