16 Jul 2012

Builder fined for dangerous construction site

A Lincolnshire builder has been fined after a spot check by the HSE revealed his construction site was unsafe.
The unsafe construction site at Danesgate in Lincoln

Andre Wilkin, trading as Hillen Projects, was the main contractor on a refurbishment scheme at Danesgate in Lincoln when an HSE inspector visited as part of a national construction safety initiative on 1 March 2011.

A scaffold, which was not being used at the time, was found to have numerous defects and the site itself was very untidy, with numerous slips, trips and fall hazards.

Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard today (11 July) that Mr Wilkin was verbally advised about the three issues on the day of the visit and was sent a letter two days later detailing the actions he needed to take to bring the site up to an adequate standard.
The unsafe scaffolding at Danesgate in Lincoln

A month later, a follow-up inspection was carried out but the defects on the scaffolding, which people were now working on, had not been remedied. A Prohibition Notice was served to prevent further work on the scaffold.

The site was still not organised in a safe manner and the hazards noted during the initial visit were still present. A second Prohibition Notice was served to stop any further construction work until a safe means of access around the site had been established.

Andre Baudouin Wilkin, of Market Place, Caistor, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 4(1) (c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for his failings. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,800.
Workers on the unsafe construction site at Danesgate in Lincoln

After the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Waring said:

"Mr Wilkin was offered plenty of advice and had the opportunity to rectify the problems that were identified. Instead he chose to continue putting workers at risk.

"It is essential that construction work, particularly work at height and site organisation, is properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place."

HSE Bulletin No: HSE/M/84/12 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Another day, another potentially lethal scaffold and another unnecessary fine for a company with an apparent total apathy to employee safety. 

It is staggering to think that despite being advised by an inspector and given recommendations/warnings to rectify the situation, that these suggestions were simply ignored and work carried on regardless. When you see the pictures of scaffolding without guardrails and unstable footing, you have to think how anyone could consider this scaffold as acceptable for working on - even someone with no scaffold experience can see that this structure is unsafe. The fact that noone was injured or killed during the month between first and second site inspections is a blessing in itself but this is undoubtedly more through luck than judgement.

For all I promote the use of a scaffold tag and inspection system, I also have to accept that there will always be some outfits that will never take the time or consideration to introduce safety practices such as this. For every reputable company there are probably one or two others willing to cut corners and endanger lives in the pursuit of saving a few pounds. When you think that the cost of a tagging system such as this can cost around £30 for a year of weekly inspections, and then compare it to the £5k fine handed out for such bad practices, then you have to wonder why they continue to take risks and consider themselves outside of the law.

For more information on our Good to Go Safety range of inspections systems for scaffolding please visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk


  1. Glad to see cities are starting to take construction site safety more seriously! A messy site is a dangerous site indeed!

  2. Construction safety is very important. This is the reason why Australia requires a White Card for construction companies and their employees.

  3. Constructor need to be very careful while working on a site, as they find it very risky.

    Construction Safety Columbus Ohio

  4. Great post, we don't have to think about money when we are working in dangerous positions, the most important is to prevent the accidents. Great post


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