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20th March 2018

£20k fine for CDM safety and welfare failings

What’s Happened?

A construction firm has recently been fined £20,000 after failing to safeguard the public and workers on site, and rather uniquely…. for not providing adequate welfare facilities for workers on site.

Toft Construction Limited were carrying out the refurbishment of a domestic property in Salford. A HSE inspector visited the site and discovered an unsupported, deep excavation in the front garden with insufficient controls to prevent persons falling in. The inspector also found that a steel beam was being lifted unsafely, and there were no toilet or washing facilities for workers on the site. As a result, he issued the company with two prohibition notices (PNs).

Upon a return visit to the site, the HSE inspector discovered that insufficient action had been taken by the business to address the material breaches identified within the PNs. Toft Construction was subsequently taken to court on this basis.

In Court

Toft Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1), 3(1) and Section 33(1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15(11) and Regulation 2 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company was fined a total £20,000 with £5,176.90 costs.

The HSE inspector involved in the case said after the hearing: “These risks could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Our Thoughts…

This was a totally avoidable prosecution, and with only a modicum of planning for H&S, all these areas could have easily been dealt with. Instead of doing things properly, this business now has a hefty fine to pay. They will also be on the HSE prosecution database (click here) for at least 3 years, and will obviously be on the HSE’s inspectors radar in future!

It’s a fairly common sight to see construction firms working in domestic properties, but it’s a total myth to think that the required H&S standards are any different than that of a commercial building site. CDM 2015 applies to all construction work including domestic projects. In fact, when working for a ‘domestic client’ their duties under CDM 2015 are passed on to the construction companies employed to undertake the work on their behalf (such as designers and contractors).

 

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