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Be careful on this dangerous construction job site #HazardSpotting

Sometimes contractors ignore repeated warnings about safety violations. That was the case at this commercial construction site in suburban London, which was cited three times by the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and continued to neglect the safety of its workers. HSE finally fined the contractor, which has since gone into receivership.

What's wrong with this job site? Plenty!

Makeshift ramp The most egregious safety issue is also the most visible - the makeshift ramp that the contractor was using to move workers and materials from the ground to the second level of the structure. Note the saw horse on the left and the flimsy wood brace on the right side. Presumably it was used to carry heavy materials, such as cinderblocks, to the second floor. If this ramp collapsed, any workers on it could be seriously injured. Now look at the spot where the ramp meets the wall. It's not easy for a worker to transition from the ramp to the scaffold. If he goes straight ahead, he must climb through a window opening - not very safe! I tried to picture a wheelbarrow being used to move brick and other material to the second floor, but there isn't a flat spot or landing at the top of the ramp where it could be positioned. Also, someone would have to prevent it from rolling back down the ramp while another worker would unload it. This looks like an accident waiting to happen!

No personal protective equipment (PPE) None of the three workers visible in the photo above is wearing a hard hat. The worker in the upper right corner of the photo, who is wearing a green shirt, isn't wearing a fall protection harness - but he is leaning out of a window opening. Falls from height are one of the leading causes of death on construction sites around the world. It's not something to be taken lightly!

Abundant trip hazards

The ground between the makeshift shed and the building has dozens of tools and other objects scattered around. Any one of these could easily become a trip hazard. Just outside of the makeshift "tent" (warped \plywood walls with a covering of plastic sheet over the top), there are bags of mortar stacked up. If a worker comes out of the tent and turns to sharply, he will probably trip over them. There is a path between the tent and the building under construction, but it has junk scattered along it, too. Just behind the ramp is what looks like a small air compressor. Just to the right of the compressor, the ground slopes downward several inches, which could also become a trip hazard going uphill or a fall hazard if a worker steps there, expecting level ground. #HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations, developed by and supported by VISTA Training, Inc.

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