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12th October 2022

Building firm fined after Ignoring Prohibition Notice

three cranes on a building site

What’s Happened?

A building firm has recently been fined after putting workers working at height at risk during the refurbishment of a former warehouse building in London. It is understood the company deliberately breached a HSE Prohibition Notice served on the site.

The company was using a site-made cradle during the renovation of the five-story building on Bermondsey Street in London. Cradles are temporary suspended work access platforms widely used in the construction industry, which are commonly suspended from cables and raised and lowered into position by winches.

HSE Visit

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were understood to have served a prohibition notice on the business as it was clear that site operatives were being put at risk of falling from height while unsafely refurbishing the front façade of the building.

However, despite being served with a prohibition notice by the HSE, the company continued the same work the following day.

An investigation by the HSE found that workers were at significant risk of falling from height by manually lifting the cradle from the open edge of the roof and working from height near unprotected openings; and that the work was not appropriately supervised.

The company also obstructed justice by refusing to allow the HSE inspector access to the site – which in and of itself is a serious breach as Inspectors have the right of entry to your premises as well as the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, and exercise powers to help them fulfil their role.

In Court

The company was subsequently prosecuted at appeared Westminster Magistrates’ Court On 10 October 2022 where they pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and breaching the Prohibition Notice. They were fined £46,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,688.10.

Speaking after the hearing the HSE Inspector involved in the case said: “Inspectors will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against dutyholders who fall below the required standards and put lives at risk.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. In 2021/22, falls from height accounted for 29 fatal injuries in the workplace.”

If you have any queries on work at height arrangements, or wish to discuss any other health and safety issue then don’t hesitate to call our adviceline today on 0300 303 5228.

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