A concerned member of the public alerted safety inspectors to unsafe work at a construction site in Manchester, a court has heard.
Responding to the call, an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Betcat International Limited, an international building firm, failed in its duty of care to protect workers, subcontractors and visitors.
It was served 6 Prohibition Notices and 2 Improvement Notices, along with a Notification of Contravention.
Betcat was hired by high street clothing chain Mango to carry out refurbishment and alteration works at its store on Market Street in Manchester, Trafford Magistrates’ Court was told.
It agreed to fully refurbish the multi-storey retail unit, including structural alterations to facilitate the installation of 2 new staircases, the installation of a lift shaft, and the removal and infilling of an existing stairway.
But the HSE inspector uncovered serious safety failings during a visit in July 2014.
Operatives were seen using tower scaffolds that had not been properly erected with full edge protection, plus a tower scaffold was balanced at an angle so the working platform was not level.
A staircase on which another operative was working had no handrails or any form of edge protection to prevent falls from height.
The site was heavily congested with materials, waste and other debris, while walkways were not clear and the lighting levels were very low. There was also no toilet, nor were there any washing facilities.
No dust extraction system was fitted, plus there were no fire alarms and the fire extinguishers were out of date.
Given the range of serious breaches identified, the regulator said is was very fortunate that nobody was injured or even killed while working on the site. It thanked the member of the public for the tip-off.
Betcat International Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £40,000 (£20,000 per offence) with costs of £3,761.
Source: Health and Safety Executive