A Timely Reminder on the Importance of Compliance
We recently came across a story that demonstrates just how important it is to comply with regulations when running a busy construction company. We came across a case being heard in Manchester Magistrates’ Court which took our breath away due to the number of breaches of health and safety regulations. The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after they were contacted by concerned members of the public, showing just how vigilant the British public can be when it comes to safe working practices. To add insult to injury, the builder exposed both his employees and members of the public to harmful silica dust during the removal of old mortar whilst repointing a house in Altrincham.
HSE began to investigate a construction employer who allowed his employees to work on unguarded platforms six metres in height, with an unsecured ladder balanced on a tower scaffold at one end, to a roof at the other end! During the investigation, it came to light that the employer made a deliberate decision to provide neither the scaffolding necessary to safely access the work area, nor an adequate means of capturing the silica dust. This decision was taking in order to save money.
The employer had also failed to insure his workers against any injury or ill-health sustained during the course of their work – probably to cut costs even more!
The investigation also brought to light the fact that the company website features a portfolio of work, with several images of both the work in progress and the completed jobs. In several of the “work in progress” images, HSE investigators discovered visual proof of other breaches of health and safety regulations, with ladders not being secured and dodgy looking scaffolding.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, this same construction company owner was subsequently caught (at a later date) fly-tipping bags of sand and building waste materials in a church car park! Rather than being a responsible construction company owner and employer, this guy seems to be making a huge effort to breach regulations as much as possible!
The Salford construction company owner pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,615 and to complete 180 hours of community service.
A spokesperson for HSE thanked the public for their vigilance in reporting issues such as this and went on to say that the HSE receives thousands of such calls from concerned members of the public each year. The spokesperson finished by saying “Corners must not be cut when dealing with employees’ safety, such as working at height.”