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House builder in court for ignoring safety warnings

Date:
14 November 2014

A construction firm has been fined after it ignored repeated warnings about safety at a building site for a row of terraced houses in Manchester.

Waterloo Construction (Manchester) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it continued to stack bricks on scaffolding without measures in place to stop them falling and injuring people below.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard today (14 November) that an HSE inspector had identified the issue on a visit to the building site for ten new terraced houses on Elizabeth Street in Cheetham Hill on 14 November 2013.

She noticed that the bricks were being stored on the scaffolding platform above the height of the toe board, which meant there was a risk of them falling if they became dislodged.

The inspector served the company with a Prohibition Notice requiring the bricks to be stored at ground level or for brick guards to be used. She returned to the site on three occasions up until April 2014 but on each occasion bricks were still being stacked on scaffolding platforms, with no measures in place to prevent them from falling.

Waterloo Construction (Manchester) Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,445 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Laura Moran said:

“If one of the bricks had fallen from the scaffolding and struck someone on the ground below then they could have suffered serious head injuries.

“We gave Waterloo Construction several opportunities to improve safety, returning to the site on three separate occasions after my initial visit, but bricks continued to be stacked unsafely on scaffolding.

“This case should act as a warning to other construction firms. The notices that HSE issues are legally enforceable and companies will find themselves in court if they fail to take action.”

Information on improving health and safety in the construction industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/construction.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk.
  2. Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It is an offence for any person to contravene any requirement or prohibition imposed by an improvement notice or a prohibition notice (including any such notice as modified on appeal).”

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