Hundreds of sites across the country will face surprise visits in a bid to reduce the current annual construction death toll of 42.
Inspectors will be concentrating on refurbishment, repair and maintenance sites which accounted for nearly three-quarter of deaths last year.
During 2010 inspectors visited 2014 sites and 2414 contractors. They were forced to issue more than 350 prohibition notices to stop dangerous work.
Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction, said: “This will be the fifth year that we have run the inspection initiative across Britain and we anticipate that that there will be examples of both good and bad practice – those where employers are taking all the measures they can to protect their workers and those where safety is way down the list of priorities.
“A lax attitude to health and safety in one of the more dangerous industries is not acceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions.
“As we’ve demonstrated in previous years, we will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practice that is putting the lives of workers at risk.
“This year, as part of ensuring risks from asbestos are properly managed, we will also be checking that, where appropriate, asbestos surveys have been carried out prior to any refurbishment work.
“Many workers believe that, because asbestos has been banned as a building material, it’s no longer a threat to them. But that simply isn’t true. Any premises built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos.”