The latest of the regular programme of nationwide checks on building sites by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that a high proportion are still failing to meet basic safety standards.
Poor standards and dangerous practices were found at nearly half of the more than 2600 building sites visited during the month-long safety drive.
On 644 sites, practices were so poor that enforcement action was necessary to protect workers. More than 530 prohibition notices were served ordering dangerous activities to stop immediately and over 410 improvement notices issued requiring standards to improve.
Chief Inspector of Construction Heather Bryant said: "It is disappointing to find a significant number of sites falling below acceptable health and safety standards. Where our inspectors encountered poor practice, this often went hand in hand with a lack of understanding."
The most common problems identified included failing to protect workers during activities at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.
During the September-long initiative, inspectors paid visits looking for good site order, sound structures and basic welfare facilities. They also paid particular attention to possible risks from asbestos exposure.