Healthy handling site visit update

Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials

ISSN: 0003-5599

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




(2004), "Healthy handling site visit update", Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials, Vol. 51 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Healthy handling site visit update

Healthy handling site visit update

Keywords: Health and safety, Inspection, Construction

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) construction inspectors issued 66 enforcement notices during the second week of the Healthy Handling blitz currently underway in London and the South East.

As the Healthy Handling initiative moves into its second phase, interim findings show that many construction clients, designers and contractors need to improve their assessment and management of health risks. Visits concentrate on site order and organisation, risks from manual handling, the use of wet cement and hand held vibrating tools and equipment.

Over 350 sites of all sizes were inspected during the second week of March 2004. Inspectors issued 40 enforcement notices prohibiting work or requiring improvements. In addition, on a number of projects there was an agreed cessation of work activity until improvements had been effected.

Inspectors found sites using cement without proper facilities for washing, heavy loads being handled in an unsafe manner and vibrating tools being used when the user was unaware of the safe exposure period.

In addition, inspectors were sometimes diverted from these health issues to attend to failures to control basic safety risks arising from work at height and moving plant and vehicles. A further 26 enforcement notices were therefore issued on these matters. In total, approximately 20 per cent of all projects visited were subject to formal enforcement action on the target health issues or other risks.

Philip White HSE Construction Division Head of Operations for London, East and South East England said: “This is the first widespread health issues initiative to be carried out by an operational unit of HSE's. I am pleased that both before and during these site visits we have been significantly raising awareness of the ill health caused by manual handling, use of cement and vibrating equipment and tools. However, raised awareness must be translated into action and a more uniform presence of the good standards we find on some construction sites. Our focus on such health issues will not cease and we will continue to monitor and take action on these matters throughout 2004 and beyond. Musculoskeletal disorders from manual handling, dermatitis arising from contact with wet cement and vibration white finger caused by vibrating tools and equipment are far too common in the construction industry and we are determined to promote and secure improvements”.

On the positive side he commented: “By contrast, I am pleased that inspectors visited a number of sites where excellent systems are in place and good or best practice is to be found. We need to see more projects reach these standards”.

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