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Dangerous work at height leads to fine

Date:
29 May 2015

A property company has been fined after workers were found working dangerously at height while demolishing buildings in Lancashire.

Responding to a complaint, Health and Safety Executive inspectors visited the site – a former aerospace plant in Hargher Street, Burnley – in August last year.

They observed a worker stripping slates from a fragile roof without any measures in place to prevent a fall through it, or mitigate the potential life-threatening effects of such a fall.

Forty-five per cent of deaths (19 of 42) on construction sites in Britain last year were as a result of falls from height and 581 workers suffered major injuries (35 per cent of the total) as a result of such a fall.

Appearing at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, KML (Properties) Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of Work at Height Regulations and was fined £10,400.

The company, of Brunswick Street, Nelson, also pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and were fined £2,000 for each. These breaches related to failing to plan the work being undertaken and also to provide adequate welfare facilities for operatives carrying out work on site.

Total fines were therefore £14,400 and the firm must also pay full HSE prosecution costs of £1,276 and a victim surcharge of £200.

HSE inspector Jacqueline Western, who investigated the case, said: “These breaches of health and safety legislation were entirely preventable.

“Falls through fragile roofs are a common cause of work-related death or personal injury. Poor welfare facilities can cause significant health issues for workers – in this case the concern for operatives on site was exposure to biological hazard from bird droppings, rat infestation and contamination of the site.

“Comprehensive guidance and information is available to download free of charge from HSE’s website and it is not unreasonable to expect a company in the business of construction and demolition to be aware of what the law requires.”

Information and guidance on complying with health and safety legislation in the construction sector is at http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/index.htm 

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. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.
  3. The offences that KML (Properties) Ltd pleaded guilty to:
    • That you, on 8th August 2014, at the Former Gardners Aerospace Works, Hargher Street, Burnley, being a dutyholder in control of work at height, within the meaning of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, failed to comply with Regulation 6(3) of the said Regulations, in that you failed to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury whereby you are guilty of an offence as provided by section 33(1)(c) of The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974, and liable to a penalty as provided by Section 33(2) and schedule 3A to The Act (as amended by Section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008).
    • That you, on 8th August 2014, at the Former Gardners Aerospace Works, Hargher Street, Burnley, being a Principal Contractor within the meaning of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 failed to comply with their duty under Regulation 22 (1) (c) of the said Regulations, in that you failed to ensure that welfare facilities, sufficient to comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 were provided throughout the construction phase, whereby you are guilty of an offence as provided by section 33(1)(c) of The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974, and liable to a penalty as provided by Section 33(2) and schedule 3A to The Act (as amended by Section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008).
    • That you, on 8th August 2014, being a client within the meaning of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, failed to comply with your duty under Regulation 16 (a) of the said Regulations, in that you failed to ensure that the construction phase of works at the Former Gardner’s Aerospace Works, Hargher Street, Burnley, did not start until the Principal Contractor had prepared a construction phase plan which complied with Regulation 23 (1)(a) and 23 (2) of the said Regulations, whereby you are guilty of an offence as provided by section 33(1)(c) of The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974, and liable to a penalty as provided by Section 33(2) and Schedule 3A to The Act (as amended by Section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008).

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