24 Feb 2010

Fine for lack of scaffold inspection...

A Bradford property developer was today fined £10,000 for serious safety failings that endangered the lives of workers on a refurbishment project in Hull.

HQ Leisure Limited, of Park Drive, Bradford, pleaded guilty to six charges at Hull Magistrates Court, one breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and three breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. 

Magistrates heard that inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a number of safety problems that could have caused a serious injury or fatality at a site on Albion Street, Hull, in October 2007, where a row of four-storey terrace buildings was being converted into 28 apartments.

The problems included:

  • Rear scaffolding had not been properly inspected, and was found to be dangerously unstable because of missing structural supports
  • Roofing materials were being thrown from a 15 metre high platform at the roof eaves - into an area where other contractors were working below
  • Insufficient and unsecured boards were being used in the roof space leaving workers at risk of falling through the ceiling joists.
  • Voids created by the demolition of a rear extension had not been guarded to prevent falls out of the building
  • No toilet had been provided for the workers and washing facilities were inadequate

In addition to the £10,000 fine, HQ Leisure was also ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

Following the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Hargreaves commented:

"HQ Leisure Limited blatantly disregarded the importance of a safe working site, leaving their workers on Albion Street at risk of serious injury or even death.

"Many people are killed on construction sites every year, and suitable planning and risk management is vital to prevent unnecessary risk.

"That clearly didn't happen on this occasion and there are a number of simple, practical measures that could and should have been taken by HQ Leisure Ltd.

"Property developers must be aware of their duties towards the health and safety of their workers, and HSE will continue to take action where we find significant risks to workers."

This prosecution coincides with the Health and Safety Executive's 'Shattered Lives' campaign, which aims to help reduce slips, trips and falls in a number of key sectors, including construction and refurbishments. These incidents cost British industry £800m a year.

HSE Transcript Source: YH/067/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence).

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