Basement Construction Site Risks

A two-day inspection initiative undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in March revealed an increase in the number of domestic basement projects across three London boroughs failing unannounced safety checks.

Enforcement action was taken at nearly half of the 127 sites visited (48%); in a similar inspection drive last year the overall enforcement rate was 36%.

At two projects, conditions were so dangerous that inspectors were forced to close the sites. More than two thirds of the Prohibition Notices served dealt with the risk of workers falling from height, either into unguarded excavations or through unprotected floor openings. Inadequate welfare provision accounted for half of the Improvement Notices.

Domestic basement projects are technically-challenging and carry substantial risks. Common issues found during the inspections were:

  • Work not properly planned
  • Failure to appoint a competent temporary works engineer to design suitable propping to support excavations and existing structures
  • Poor or absent welfare facilities for workers
  • Basic precautions missing, such as edge protection to prevent falls from height, especially into excavations
  • Unguarded conveyor belts

Good Health & Safety practice is essential in the construction industry; as an employer you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees and anyone else affected by what you do. Park City provide comprehensive H&S management services, including on-site visits, to help you create a safe and compliant working environment.

This article contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.

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