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28th July 2014

Developer sent to prison for flouting safety laws

A developer has been sent to prison for 30 months and give a £5000 fine after repeatedly breaching prohibition notices which were put in place to ensure the safety of workers while redeveloping a former office block in Parkeston, Essex.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the site following complaints from local residents worried about debris falling from upper storeys and of the danger to workers being left without any protection from falling while working at height.

The developer, who was found to be in control of workers at the site, verbally abused the HSE Inspector who visited. The inspector had to return with Essex police officers later to serve prohibition notices requiring an immediate stop to unsafe work at the site. The developer reacted strongly to this, physically assaulting the inspector.

After further reports that work had not stopped, HSE issued a further prohibition notice, which was breached within just one hour of being served!

HSE’s investigation found that there were no safety measures in place to prevent injury to workers from debris falling from height and that there was also a real risk of injury to members of the public using the road and pavement next to the Parkeston House site.

The developer was given a 30 months prison sentence after being found guilty of two breaches of section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, to be served concurrently with three 12-month prison sentences after being found guilty of three counts of contravening a Prohibition Notice contrary to section 33(1)(g) of the same Act. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

After the hearing, the HSE Inspector involved in the case said:

“Although no one was injured as a result of the woefully inadequate working practices this is nevertheless a serious case.

“The working conditions on this site were truly appalling with absolutely no provision for workers’ safety. In addition, the repeated breaching of prohibition notices – without any attempts to put right the reasons why work had been stopped – put workers and the general public at serious risk.

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