One in six construction sites in Merseyside failed health and safety inspections during the first five days of a month-long crackdown.

Inspectors from across the North West visited the county as part of a national Health and Safety Executive drive aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

At total of 22 of the 123 sites they inspected were found not to meet the minimum legal standards for health and safety, and 32 enforcement notices were issued as a result.

They included 18 prohibition notices which stopped some work activities immediately and 14 improvement notices which required changes made to working practices.

Inspectors are visiting sites where refurbishment or repair work is taking place to support a campaign to improve standards in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

They are making unannounced visits to ensure companies are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height. 

During 2011/12, two workers were killed while working in construction in Merseyside and a further 53 were seriously injured.

Nationally, there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.

Neil Jamieson, HSE principal inspector for construction in Merseyside, said: “It’s good news that the vast majority of the construction sites we visited were obeying the law but sadly some sites are letting down the rest of the industry.

“Poorly erected scaffolding, exposure to dangerous types of dust, and inadequate washing facilities were among the poor standards we found on some sites.

“I hope by carrying out these spot checks we will help to raise awareness of the dangers and reduce the number of construction workers being killed or seriously injured at work.”