NEARLY one in four construction sites in Newcastle have been deemed so dangerous that workers lives are being put at risk, according to inspections in February.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited 37 sites in the city last month as part of an initiative aimed at reducing deaths and injuries in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.
Nine of these were found to be so far below required standards that inspectors had to issue formal enforcement notices.
The team targeted refurbishment projects, which are among the worst performing sectors for health and safety in the construction industry.
Several of the sites visited received enforcement notices, which either stopped work immediately or required improvements to be made.
In total, inspectors issued eight prohibition and six improvement notices, with seven of the notices relating to unsafe work being carried out at height.
The latest figures show that, during 2009/10, there were more than 70 injuries during construction work in Newcastle.
Nationally nearly three quarters of all fatalities occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities.
Rob Hirst, principal inspector for construction, said: “This was the fifth year of the inspection initiative and it is disappointing to find construction sites taking the same unnecessary risks with their workers’ lives. Although there were examples of good practice, which the industry can learn from, the fact that we found unsafe conditions on nine in 37 sites is unacceptable.
“Companies have a responsibility to protect their workers, to help rid construction of its reputation as being one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.”