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Recent Enforcement activity

Read details of some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action in the construction sector.
Think it won't happen to you, these company's  probably thought the same, just look at the human cost and the fines they got.

Work at height

A Merseyside builder has been fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1000 after he and another man were spotted working on a pub roof in St Helens without safety equipment.

HSE prosecuted Charles Molloy from Molloy Building Contractors after an inspector spotted the men on the roof of the Black Horse Hotel on Park Road on 18 June 2009.

St Helens Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Molloy, 64, had been hired to replace the ridge tiles on the top of the pub roof. But neither he nor the worker he employed wore harnesses, put up scaffolding or took any other safety precautions.

Mr Molloy also ignored advice he was given about the way he was working by an Environmental Health Officer from St Helens Council, a few days before HSE's visit.

A homebuilding firm has been fined after a 17-year-old apprentice joiner fell from the first floor of a house he was working on.

The trainee fell almost nine feet to a concrete floor from the first floor of the new build home through an unguarded stairwell injuring his head and legs. Stonehaven Sheriff Court heard that apart from a plywood sheet placed over the stairwell entrance there was no edge protection or guards in place to prevent employees from falling through the open stairwell.

Scotia Homes Ltd pled guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £4,000.

Two directors of a decorating firm have been prosecuted after a worker was left brain damaged while working at a residential refurbishment.

Self-employed Trevor Dawson from Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was working as a painter on a student accommodation refurbishment when the incident happened 15 August 2007.

The HSE investigation found principal contractor Foster Turn-Key Contracts Ltd and Liversedge Decorating Contractors Ltd, contracted to decorate the flats, had allowed work to be carried out that was not adequately planned or supervised and had used inappropriate equipment.

Liversedge Decorating Contractors Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and were fined £2,000. Paul Daniel of Brighouse, and Clive Dewhirst of Dewsbury, both directors of the firm, also pleaded guilty to the same charge. They were fined £1,000 each. Foster Turn-Key Contractors of Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £2,000.

HSE issued a reminder on the dangers of exposure to lead paint in the workplace. It follows the prosecution of a Perthshire company after two workers were admitted to hospital with acute lead poisoning.

Blairish Restorations Limited of Aberfeldy pled guilty to offences under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 at Perth Sheriff Court.

The company failed to identify that lead paint was present during a renovation project at Findynate House, Strathtay and failed to ensure suitable precautions were taken whilst the old paintwork was sanded down and removed. Consequently, workers inhaled and ingested lead dust over several months during the summer of 2008. The dust was also spread to workers' homes, potentially endangering workers' families, from the workers' overalls.

 A Bridlington building firm boss was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,215 for not providing adequate toilet and washing facilities for staff on a construction site.

Bridlington Magistrates Court heard a toilet unit was not plumbed in, and there was no water supplied to sinks in a cabin or adjacent toilet compartment at the construction site for a pair of cottages at High Green, Bridlington.

Following the initial HSE inspection an Improvement Notice was served on Mr Brown requiring the provision of suitable toilet and washing facilities by 17 August 2009. On a subsequent site visit it was found that the requirements of the Improvement Notice had not been complied with. A sewage outlet had been provided to the toilet, but there was no water supply to the unit. A further site visit on 17 September 2009 found that although a water supply had been provided to the toilet unit, and soap and towels had been provided still no running water was provided to the sink units in the cabin or the toilet compartment.

- A Cambridgeshire groundwork contractor has today been fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000 after a worker was buried alive in an excavation collapse.

HSE prosecuted Anthony John Melvyn Hill, 58, of Sawston, for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and for breaching Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

On 22 October 2007, one of Mr Hill's employees was undertaking groundwork on construction project near Brinkley in East Cambridgeshire.

The Court heard that, while the employee was in a trench, the sides collapsed, burying him completely. The emergency services were called, and he was rescued alive from the collapse by other workers and the Suffolk Fire and Rescue team.

A building firm has been fined £5,000 after a worker was injured and trapped for more than two hours when the trench he was in collapsed.

Vickers Construction Limited, of Eaglescliffe, was also ordered to pay costs of £3,178.10 after it pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974.

The court heard how on 25 November 2008, an excavator was being used to dig a trench for drainage pipes on a sloping bank. Construction worker, John Taylor, 44 was laying pipes when the trench wall collapsed. Mr Taylor was trapped from the waist down for more than two hours and also suffered bruising to his legs.

An HSE investigation showed that the driver of the excavator had not received suitable training in its use.

- A worker at one of Europe's biggest manufacturers escaped with only minor injuries after the crane he was operating overturned.

Steelmaker Corus UK Ltd was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £9,908.50 costs after it was prosecuted by the HSE over the incident.

The mobile crane was being used at Aldwarke Steel Works in Rotherham on 4 September 2008 when it overturned.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that although the crane had been fitted with 'safe working load' alarms following concerns over its stability, they were not switched on because the driver had not been trained on using them. When the crane became overloaded, no alarms sounded and it overturned.

An East Yorkshire building company was prosecuted by HSE after a construction worker suffered serous injuries when he was run over by a digger.

Brothers Bryan Christopher Kendra and Michael Antony Kendra of L & S Kendra & Sons, East Yorkshire, were each fined £9,000 and each ordered to pay £2,500 in costs after both men pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Beverley Magistrates Court heard that on 29 July 2009, at a construction site at Seaton Ross, Bryan Kendra was driving a reversing 360 degree excavator digger, when it struck and drove over bricklayer, Andrew Trezise. Mr Trezise, 56, from Pocklington, suffered a broken pelvis and serious leg injuries in the incident.

The HSE investigation found that there were no markings to indicate where the digger was working, to ensure that it was separated from pedestrian movements on site. A reversing assistant had not been deployed to oversee reversing manoeuvres for the digger prior to the incident.

A West Kent construction employer has been found guilty of health and safety breaches following the death of an employee.

Edward James Day (trading as E J Construction) of Longfield, Kent, was fined £20,000. A jury found Mr Day, 54, guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulation 37(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The prosecution, brought jointly by Kent Police and HSE, follows an incident on 5 December 2007. An employee of E J Construction, Mark Wilkin, was working to extend a finger of land which was being used as a temporary roadway out into a flooded quarry at Salt Lane in Cliffe. The vehicle he was driving, a site dumper, came off the roadway and Mr Wilkin became trapped under it in the quarry. He drowned at the scene.

More prosecutions

A building firm has been fined £4,500 after refurbishment work triggered the temporary closure of country club over fears of exposure to asbestos. The company was found guilty at Magistrates’ Court, in its absence, of breaching Regulations 5, 11 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, between 7 January and 6 March 2008.

When HSE inspectors visited the site, they found that work was carried out without adequate checks for asbestos or asbestos-containing materials, and served a Prohibition Notice - immediately stopping construction work. Further investigations found large amounts of asbestos pipe lagging in walls and floor voids where work had been undertaken. HSE worked with local Environmental Health Officers and the hotel management to ensure that asbestos fibres had not spread to the occupied areas of the hotel. The hotel was voluntarily closed while tests were undertaken. Fortunately the test results in the public areas were negative.

A building firm has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,178 at Magistrates Court after it pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The Court heard that a worker was laying pipes in a trench when the wall collapsed, trapping him and causing bruising to his lower legs and hypothermia. An investigation by HSE showed that the driver of the excavator had not received suitable training in its use. Industry guidance, which recommends providing shoring or trench boxes, should have been followed.

A construction company has been fined £4,500 after one of its workers was seriously injured when a forklift truck telehandler he was operating overturned at a site on 16 July.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Magistrates’ Court. The court heard that the injured person - who was not trained to use the machine and was not wearing a seatbelt when the incident happened - was lifting roof trusses onto the roof of the development when the forklift truck telehandler that he was operating overturned and fell onto its side throwing him against the machine’s window and controls. He suffered multiple fractures to his arm leaving him with limited mobility in his shoulder.

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