Safety on construction sites needs greater attention

The Labour Inspectorate checked 66 construction sites across Estonia. The inspectors detected 130 violations, five of which resulted in a misdemeanour procedure. Only four construction sites were fully compliant with the regulations.

In April, the Labour Inspectorate carried out unannounced targeted checks at construction sites. During the checks, greatest attention was paid to the prevention of falling from heights.

Apo Oja, the Deputy Director General of the Labour Inspectorate in the field of inspection of work environment and development, sees that the situation at construction sites has increasingly improved over the years, but safety is yet to become an integral part of working. "In construction, falling from heights is the most common incident and, in general, has very severe or even fatal consequences," Oja commented. "Unfortunately, we witnessed unnecessary risk-taking also this time as several sites tested whether the laws of physics do indeed exist. Safety railings are often absent and falling protection is not used. Safety harnesses and ropes are not of much use if they do exist, but at the backseat of a car as the employee is working on a roof," Oja added. The Labour Inspectorate would like to stress that coordinators who are responsible for occupational health care and safety on the construction site must observe much more that all safety regulations are adhered to. For example, a danger zone must be restricted to unauthorized persons, and everyone present at the construction site must wear personal protective equipment. Protection against falling must always be used when working in heights. It should also be remembered that a ladder is meant for climbing up and down, not for working on.

The targeted checks were made on construction sites in the Harju, Ida-Viru, Järva, Lääne-Viru, Põlva, Pärnu, Saare, Tartu, Valga, Viljandi, and Võru counties.

Last year, 407 occupational accidents happened in the construction sector. 105 of these resulted in a severe health damage and eight persons lost their lives on construction sites.