The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has this week launched a month-long inspection initiative aimed at enforcing safety standards on the UK’s construction site and minimising risks for construction workers.

The workplace safety body will spend the month targeting sites where refurbishment and repair works are taking place, making unannounced visits to construction sites across the country. They will specifically be looking at work that involves high-risk practices, such as working at height. The initiative is running from 18 February to 15 March.

The chief inspector of construction at HSE, Philip White, said that 49 construction workers were killed on the job in 2011/12, with more than 2,884 major injuries reported. He said that it is imperative to bring those numbers down and that any poor management of risks and lack of awareness of responsibilities found during the inspections will be dealt with in the strictest terms.

“In many cases simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and can even save lives,” white explained. “Therefore if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily put at risk we will take strong action. We are determined to drive the message home that site safety and worker welfare cannot be compromised.”

The inspectors will also be checking that the sites are being kept in good order and free from obstructions, and that the necessary safety signposting is in place.