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Construction Risk Insights: Construction Site Safety Inspections

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. HSE inspectors have the right to enter worksites without prior notice, although many will give notice where appropriate. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are prepared when inspectors come.

What to Expect During an Inspection

Generally, inspectors will inspect the worksite and its activities, how you manage health and safety, and whether you are complying with the law. Inspectors may also talk to workers and take photographs or samples. Some may offer guidance. If there is a problem, inspectors may serve enforcement notices.

What Inspectors Look For

The following are examples of risk management that inspectors look for at construction sites.

General risk management

  • Agree on risk control measures with contractors.
  • Communicate the agreed-upon risk control measures to the workforce.
  • Ensure equipment has been correctly installed and/or assembled.
  • Inspect equipment regularly and arrange maintenance as necessary.

Working at height

  • Follow the Work at Height Regulations hierarchy, which includes avoiding work at height where possible and using work equipment or other measures to minimise the distances and prevent negative results of a fall when work at height cannot be avoided.
  • Take proper precautions, such as edge protection on scaffolding.
  • Make sure ladders, if used, are the correct type, in good condition, set on firm, level ground, properly secured and set at the correct length and angle.


  • Keep walkways, stairs and work areas clear of debris and other obstructions.
  • Store materials safely in a place.
  • Ensure walkways are even, and gritted if icy.

Welfare facilities

  • Keep facilities warm, well-lit and well-ventilated.
  • Provide a place to change, dry and store clothing.
  • Provide clean and working toilets, soap, towels and washbasins with hot and cold running water.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Provide appropriate PPE to workers, including hard hats, ear protectors, masks and gloves.
  • Ensure PPE is in good condition.
  • Ensure that workers are using PPE correctly.

The HSE provides additional guidance on its website. For more information, contact Sirelark Risk Services today.

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The content of this publication is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances or jurisdiction. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice from their own legal counsel. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2013 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

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