'Safety flaws' at East of England construction sites

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A quarter of construction sites recently inspected in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk failed health and safety checks, it has been revealed.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited the counties as part of a clampdown to reduce death, injury and ill health.

They said 17 of the 71 sites visited were found not to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety.

Poorly erected scaffolding and exposure to dust were raised as concerns.

Eighteen enforcement notices were issued as a result, HSE said.

They included six prohibition notices, which stopped some work activities immediately, and 12 improvement notices, which required improvements to be made to working practices.

The inspectors made unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place.

'Poor standards'

They looked to ensure companies were managing high-risk activity, such as working at height, and checked whether personal protective equipment, such as head protection, was being used appropriately.

Dominic Elliss, HSE principal inspector for construction in the East of England, said: "It's good news that the majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law, but sadly some sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

"Poorly erected scaffolding, exposure to dangerous types of dust, and inadequate washing facilities were among the poor standards we found on some sites.

"I hope by carrying out these spot checks we will help to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work."

During 2011/12, 19 workers were killed while working in construction across the East of England and a further 2,141 were seriously injured, HSE said.

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