Firm in court for unsafe refurbishment work

A construction company has been fined for unsafe refurbishment work that exposed workers to the risk of serious injuries.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that safety standards were woefully lacking at a property undergoing an extensive overhaul in Newton Avenue, Acton, between July 2013 to January 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.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard at 26 March that company also failed to hold 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.

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

After the hearing, HSE Inspector 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."

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