One fifth of sites fail healthy handling test
THE LEVEL of enforcement action taken during the first two weeks of the HSE’s ‘Healthy Handling’ blitz on construction sites in the South East has given force to the Executive’s decision to focus more on occupational health risks. From 8 to 15 March alone 66 enforcement notices were handed out across 350 sites. Inspectors found sites using cement without proper facilities for washing, heavy loads being handled unsafely, and vibrating tools being used for longer than is safe.
Early conclusions from the initiative the HSE Construction Division first to focus on health rather than safety issues are that many construction clients, designers and contractors are not assessing or managing health risks effectively.
The focus on health issues, in particular manual handling, has been welcomed by the industry. Marion Griffin, of the Construction Health and Safety Group, said new guidance, or even legislation, was necessary in this area as the Manual Handling Regulations at the moment “are not working”.
On 24 March the Group released the report and results of its year-long Jubilee Research Project on manual handling in highway kerb-laying. According to the Group, “kerb design has remained largely unchanged for more than 30 years and pays no regard to the health of installers”.
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