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Building firm in court for ignoring regulator

Date:
3 November 2015

A building contractor has been sentenced after ignoring enforcement notices from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court heard that HSE attended for a routine inspection at the former Timbertree Primary School in Graingers Lane, Cradley Heath, on 14 January 2015 and found issues with scaffold and other work at height practices and subsequently sent a letter to the company highlighting its concerns. 

Meadowdale Homes, based in Kingswinford did not respond to the letter. Two Improvement Notices (INs)were then served on the company to comply with by 02 March ordering the firm to arrange Site Manager Safety Training Scheme and to address out scaffold and other work at height issues. 

Neither notice received a response, and when HSE inspectors returned to the site on 03 March, they found none of the matters resolved. Further letters over several months were also ignored. 

The company was invited to attend a taped interview under caution but did not attend.

Meadowdale Homes which is registered at Swinford House, Albion Street, Brierley but trades from Oak farm, Firebrick Works, Oak Lane, Kingswinford admitted two breaches of Section 33(1)(g) and one breach of Regulation 4 (1) of Work at Height Regulations. The firm was fined £5000 for each breach (£15,000) plus full costs of £1617 were awarded to HSE. 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: “Initially this was a perfectly normal routine inspection, with a few things found that could have been easily resolved. 

“The defendant said they didn’t respond to the notices because of pressure at work. They admitted not being organised and not taking the matter very seriously, hoping it would go away. 

“I’d say to other businesses, it is not a good idea to ignore interaction with HSE, or it could land you in court with a sizeable fine, as Meadowdale has discovered today.” 

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/  
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk 

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