19 Dec 2012

Cardiff building company fined for ignoring safety risks

A Cardiff building company has been fined for ignoring a safety notice and exposing workers and members of the public to serious risk of injury.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard today (18 December) that Rimo Construction Ltd, of St Mellons, allowed unsafe work at height at a house in Rumney in June 2012.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that employees were working from scaffolding around the property, and on the roof, without adequate protection to prevent them from falling.

Part of the scaffolding was removed on 28 June, but they continued working without guard rails until a HSE inspector visited the site the following day after a local resident raised concerns about safety.

Rimo Construction was immediately served with a Prohibition Notice preventing any further work on the scaffold or the roof of the property. However, on 30 June, the following day, neighbours on both sides of the property saw the men continuing to work in exactly the same way.

Adequate edge protection or other precautions should have been in place to prevent workers from falling and injuring themselves or others.

Rimo Construction Ltd, of Vaindre Road, St Mellons, Cardiff, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1), 3(1) and 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Simon Breen said:

"The dangers of working at height without adequate edge protection are very clear, yet companies and individuals continue to take risks and cut corners.

"Rimo Construction was well aware of the precautions it should have been taking, particularly after being served with a Prohibition Notice to stop work on the scaffolds and on the roof. Yet less than 24 hours later the company ignored the risks and the terms of the notice.

"Whilst there were no injuries, the workers could have fallen from the scaffolding or roof into the grounds of the neighbouring houses on either side.

"I hope today's prosecution serves to remind all companies who expect employees to work at height of their legal duties to properly manage safety, and to provide the necessary protection required to safeguard them and others from falls."

 HSE Bulletin No: HSE (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Christmas is just around the corner, yet it appears that some people are still willing to risk not spending it with their family. The use of unsafe/incomplete scaffolding when working at height runs the very real risk of an employee suffering serious injury or even a fatality. Just a lapse in concentration is enough for someone to step back and disappear over the edge of a scaffold without a guardrail to prevent their fall. It amazes me that anyone would expect work to continue on a scaffold that has already seen it part dismantled and with open edges to fall from. 

Yet again, this story reinforces the need for a competent person and trained employee to inspect the scaffold prior to use and to record his findings. The Good to Go Safety system allows a scaffold to be tagged and the checklist used to identify potential problems. They become an integral part of the safety management system and should not be under-estimated. For more information about our scaffold inspection system please visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

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