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Jun 30

HSE ‘putting firms on the spot’ over COVID-19 – Construction News

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says it carried out more than 1,000 spot checks in the first three weeks after it resumed inspections.

The safety watchdog restarted proactive inspections of construction and other sites in late May. Figures supplied to Construction News by the body for the three weeks between 26 May to 18 June show that the organisation carried out what it termed spot checks at 1,055 businesses across all sectors.

The organisation defines spot checks to include phone calls as well as site visits. It did not break down the figures between types of sector.

Some 107 firms who were subject to spot checks were subject to follow-ups from inspectors.

A spokesman said: HSE inspectors and local authority inspectors are visiting workplaces across a range of sectors following up reports or concerns about safety in the workplace including over COVID-19 and ensuring compliance. HSE is carrying out proactive checks to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from COVID-19.

Putting duty holders on the spot, and checking on how they are managing risks has always been part of our regulatory approach.

The organisation has, however, suspended its release of RIDDOR statistics relating to the coronavirus, in what a spokesman said would be a temporary move while it refines its data collection processes. Up to the beginning of May, the organisation said there had been 198 RIDDOR reports of dangerous occurrences and 71 fatal-disease reports relating to COVID-19 across all industries.

One of the firms subject to an unannounced visit by inspectors was HGH Groundworks and Civil Engineering at a site where the firm is the largest subcontractor. Its head of safety, health, environment and quality Martin McCabe told Construction News that the inspector carried out a routine-style visit with added questions and checks on its processes for mitigating coronavirus.

It was an overall holistic visit where they were looking at everything. As a groundworks company they were pretty interested about the plant side of things and any issues [there could have been].

They asked about our processes, what we were doing about COVID-19 and how its managed.

The inspector found no issues on the site, McCabe said.

Last month Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, which represents HSE inspectors, warned that the organisation would not be able to carry out spot checks with much frequency after it restarted work. The common understanding of what the HSE would do is much at odds with what it can do, due to its level of resourcing, he told CN.

See the article here:
HSE 'putting firms on the spot' over COVID-19 - Construction News

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