House Builder Fined for Ignoring Scaffolding and Falling Objects Related Hazards

The actions of builders have serious implications for the health and safety of everyone on a work site, which is why wilful disregard of safety cannot be tolerated, especially in an industry such as construction where there are so many high risk activities taking place, most often simultaneously. Although companies should try to avoid receiving warnings from authorities, companies that breach safety, receive a warning and still fail to act to address the issue are a particular concern.

A British house builder found himself in hot water with the Health and Safety Executive after he failed to act after receiving several warnings. The construction firm, Waterloo Construction (Manchester) Ltd was fined £10k (Aus$19,039.14) for failure to act on HSE warnings.

The company allowed bricks on its site to be stacked on scaffolding platforms without putting into place any measures to stop bricks from falling and injuring people below.

The case was recently heard before Trafford Magistrates Court and it was revealed during the hearing that an inspector visited the building site on 14 November 2013 and discovered the breaches of health and safety laws, warnings were issued. On visiting the site again, it was discovered that the issues had not been corrected.

The following excerpt from PPConstructionSafety.com explains about the breaches:

brickguardsmissing1Bricks were stored on a scaffolding platform above the height of the toe board, which meant there was a risk of them falling if they became dislodged. A Prohibition Notice was issued requiring the bricks to be stored at ground level or for brick guards to be used.

Three further visits to April 2014 found bricks still being stacked on scaffolding platforms with no measures in place to prevent them from falling.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com

In addition to the £10,000 fine, the company was ordered to pay £1,445 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to the breach and failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice.

After the hearing Health and Safety Executive Inspector Laura Moran spoke about the case and how it should serve as a warning to other construction firms. Moran stated:

“If one of the bricks had fallen from the scaffolding and struck someone on the ground below then they could have suffered serious head injuries.

We gave Waterloo Construction several opportunities to improve safety, returning to the site on three separate occasions after my initial visit, but bricks continued to be stacked unsafely on scaffolding.

This case should act as a warning to other construction firms. The notices that HSE issues are legally enforceable and companies will find themselves in court if they fail to take action.”

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com

Although this incident takes place thousands of kilometres away, across the pond, it can serve as a useful warning to others in the construction sector, even here in Oz…

If given an opportunity to improve safety, take it.

Don’t try to negate health and safety responsibilities even after being issued with warnings. The White Card is crucial in teaching workers what their responsibilities are on the work site and what they should expect from their employer, this will help employees recognise when their employers are placing them at risk and issues need to be addressed.

Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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