The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed 20 per cent of the construction sites it visited during a recent inspection initiative failed health and safety checks.

HSE inspectors visited 1,759 refurbishment sites during March and analysed how over 2,000 contractors were adhering to health and safety regulations.

Enforcement action was taken at 348 sites after inspectors found sufficiently serious risks. At these projects, work was stopped immediately or improvements orders were made.

Phillip White, HSE’s new chief inspector of construction, said: "This inspection initiative was well publicised and for our inspectors to still find this level of disregard for basic health and safety standards on refurbishment sites is disappointing.

Mr White added unsafe work at height practices remain a "huge concern".

According to the organisation, it receives reports of 4,000 major injuries every year – such as broken bones or fractured skulls – half of which involve falls from height.