Firm took to court over unsafe refurbishment work

A construction company in the UK have been fined for completing some unsafe refurbishment that exposed workers to being at risk of serious injuries.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the safety standards were lacking at the property which was undergoing extensive overhaul between 2014 to 2014.

A basement was excavated without any form of propping or temporary works to provide vital support, and later in the project the risk of falls from height was also found to be poorly managed.

However there was another twist in this case as it came about that the company didn’t have any  valid Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance for its workforce, which is a legal requirement to support workers in the event of an incident occurring.

HSE twice served Prohibition Notices to stop work linked to the refurbishment during visits in January 2014 to prevent the risk of falls from height.

The first visit followed a complaint from workers at the site about unsafe excavations where there was a serious risk of collapse.

The company were fined £10,000 and were ordered to pay a further £1,213 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Pete Collingwood commented:

“The dangers posed by unsupported excavations are well known in the construction industry, and it should have been abundantly clear that the provision and use of shoring was a basic necessity.

“Later in the project measures in place to protect against falls from height were found to be inadequate on two separate visits to site. To compound this, the contractor had no Employers Liability Insurance in the event of an accident occurring.

“Every employer should ensure that workers have the basic right to work in a safe environment.

Source: HSE