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The Health and Safety Executive has reported that nearly one in five construction sites visited across Britain has been subject to enforcement action after failing standard health and safety checks.

Between February and March 2013 the Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) carried out a total of 2,363 visits to construction sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place. In this time 2,976 contractors were interviewed.

Out of the 2,363 sites visited, 433 sites were subjected to 631 enforcement notices for health and safety failings which put workers at risk, with 451 notices ordering that work be stopped immediately until health and safety standards on the construction site were improved.

The HSE commented that “HSE will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers against reckless employers. It is they who continue to make construction one of the most dangerous industries in which to work”.

HSE statistics show that during the period 2011/12 49 workers on construction sites were killed because of health and safety failings and 2,884 major injuries were reported.

So, what health and safety standards are construction sites supposed to comply with? Construction sites are subject to specific statutory duties to maintain health and safety standards for their workers and also general common law duties to take reasonable care for the welfare of the workers on the construction site.

The specific legislation that applies to construction sites include:

  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Work at Height Regulations 2005
  • The Provision and Use of Worker Equipment Regulations 1992
  • The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The above regulations seek to encourage employers to comply with the specified standards of health and safety in the legislation. If an employer fails to comply with a statutory duty then they may be liable to criminal prosecution or a claim for personal injury (if a worker on a construction site is injured because of their unreasonable failure to comply with the statutory duty). If found guilty of a criminal offence relating to health and safety, a substantial fine may be imposed.

Further to this, employers running construction sites also have common law duties to take reasonable care for the safety of their workers. An employer should provide competent employees, a safe place of work and safe materials, a safe system of work, and sufficient training to allow the employees to carry out their work in a safe manner. An unreasonable failure to maintain these standards may result in a claim for personal injury by an injured worker.

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Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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    Chris and his team were excellent. They provided sound advice and consultation that resulted in more cash than was offered. Would definitely recommend.

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    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel Chin, for all her support during my settlement process. Where she provided a professional service and was understanding. I would confidently recommend Redmans Solicitors to my friends and family. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

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    I don’t normally write reviews, but thought it was time on this occasion. Just wanted to say that I highly recommend Redmans - especially Rana Tandon, who helped me navigate around my employment contract. Rana was meticulous and thorough and all over my needs. Would I use Redmans again ? ..absolutely

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    Richard S

    Chris and Sacha were great throughout the entire process. Chris was very helpful once the initial discussions with my company began and before we agreed there was a case. Sacha was very responsive, patient and helpful throughout ensuring I felt I had the right information to make the best decision on next steps. A close friend and wife have both used Redmans in the past few years for unfair dismissals and the service continues to be first-class and I would strongly recommend them again. They definitely help reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty around new processes and situations. Thank you!

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