23 Jul 2010

Fine for construction company risking falls at height

A major construction company has been fined for failing to properly protect its workers from falls at height on a site in South Wales.

Gee Construction Ltd was the principal contractor on the site at Castlegate, Caerphilly when a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited on 22 October 2009.

The inspector found a number of shortcomings including unguarded lift shafts on the first and second floors, and inadequate edge protection to prevent workers from falls - one of the main causes of deaths in the construction industry.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 24 May and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,514.25.

Gee Construction Ltd, which is based at Phoenix House, Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, had also previously received two prohibition notices for work at height issues in 2008 and 2009.

HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick said:

"When we visited the site, we found clear failings that left workers at risk of falling from height, and it was necessary to stop all activity above ground floor level until safe systems of work were put in place.

"As principal contractors, the company was responsible for the safety of everyone on the site. It had previously received warnings from HSE and its own safety consultants about safely working at height, but clearly this advice had been ignored.

"Fortunately, despite the increased risk no-one was injured on this site, but this case must serve as a warning to companies of the need to ensure working at height is properly managed."

Statistics from 2008/2009 show that 53 people died in the construction industry in the United Kingdom, 21 of which were as a result of a fall from a height greater than two metres.

HSE Transcript Source: 821W10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It is good to see larger fines being handed out for repeat offenders. I wonder if there should be a '3 strikes and out' policy introduced, which would have the power to shut down firms continuing to flaunt health and safety laws after their third official warning. You can guarantee that companies flaunting health and safety rules are winning more business during these tough times in the marketplace as they cut corners and costs at the expense of employee safety. 

Don't forget if you need any equipment tagging and inspection systems for your scaffolding, harness, ladders etc then visit the Good to Go Safety website for the best solution out there. Be safe, not sorry,

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully things like this will help improve the overall construction site safety guidelines and procedures.


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