National Labour Inspectorate inspections revealed many irregularities at small construction sites
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Inspectors of the National Labour Inspectorate have conducted checks of companies carrying out various types of construction work on small construction sites. In as many as 61% of cases, a threat to the health and life of people working at height was revealed, and during 57% of the controls it turned out that the companies use working scaffolding which is incomplete and not assembled in accordance with the instructions.
The National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) conducted 648 inspections on 438 construction sites. There were 643 inspected entrepreneurs, who dealt with work on insulating and finishing the walls of residential buildings, repairing the elevations of walls of buildings and roofs of residential buildings, earthworks, and general construction work connected with the erection of buildings, street repairs, as well as construction and installation work in excavations. The inspections took place on small construction sites, i.e. where up to 20 people can work at the same time. Additionally, the inspectors controlled construction sites at various times, including afternoons and evenings and during the weekends, in order to determine the actual scale of irregularities and non-compliance with regulations.
Already in recent years, PIP inspections showed a number of irregularities, and health and safety regulations were broken by 90% of the inspected construction contractors. Until now, the biggest problem was ignoring the rules regarding the proper protection of people working at heights. Also, the inspections carried out this year show that in as many as 61% of cases there was a threat to the health and life of people working at heights. Many irregularities – as many as 57% – were found during the inspection of working scaffoldings, which were assembled contrary to the instructions, or incomplete constructions were used. In the case of 34% of inspections, the objections concerned the marking or fencing of dangerous zones where there is a risk of falling objects from a height. Such zones include places where earthworks, works in excavations, on roofs or scaffolding are carried out. A huge problem, which appeared on every fourth construction site inspected, was securing electrical cables, which left in passageways posed a direct threat to the health and life of workers. Lack of protection of such installations not only leads to tripping or falling but can also create the risk of electrocution.
During the action “Inspections on small construction sites 2021”, 3,637 decisions were issued and as many as 78% of them were connected with the order to immediately eliminate direct threats to the life or health of working people. Among the inspectors’ decisions, 356 were related to stopping the works, 258 – to stopping the operation of machines posing a threat to operators, and over 200 – to banning the execution of works due to lack of required qualifications or personal protective equipment. As many as 1,961 decisions were issued with the order of immediate enforceability pursuant to Article 108 of the Code of Administrative Procedure due to the protection of human health or life. During the control, the inspectors also gave over 2,400 technical recommendations.
According to the PIP data collected during previous inspections, the construction industry is one of the sectors with a high accident rate. Most risks appear on small construction sites, which may be more and more numerous due to the act being drafted, allowing the construction of houses up to 70 m2 on a notification. On small sites, worker safety is often compromised in an attempt to cut costs. One in three fatal accidents at work occurs during construction work and the main cause is people’s behaviour caused by failure to comply with health and safety regulations.