A timber frame company in Wales has been fined £100,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations because its construction site was not being run safely.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that J G Hale Construction Ltd from Neath, South Wales, had failed to implement fire safety measures.
The HSE also determined that the firm had failed to effectively manage the site and that employees were at risk of being hit by work vehicles.
More than 50 properties were being built on the site and the timber structures put them at increased risk from fire, Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court was told.
The speed and intensity at which a fire can spread could prove fatal and so an effective risk assessment should be carried out and measures should be taken to mitigate against the risks,
HSE inspector Liam Osborne said after the hearing:”[J G] Hale Construction had been given plenty of warnings about fire safety and traffic risks in the recent past, including from HSE.
“Timber-frame houses are perfectly safe once they’re finished and protected, but when under construction they can be very dangerous. Stringent fire safety standards need to be in place well before the build starts, and then maintained and monitored.”
Lack of effective controls
The court heard that the were few fire protection measures in place, as well as insufficient means to detect a fire and raise the alarm.
Ignition sources were also not appropriately controlled and there was no procedure to reduce the risk of fire spreading in the event of an emergency.
Being crushed or hit by construction vehicles was also a risk on the site, investigators told the court.
Following the investigation, the HSE issued Improvement Notices to the firm, urging it to address a number of fire and vehicle safety issues
After two further inspection visits, the notices were complied with.
J G Hale Construction Limited, of Milland Road, Neath, South Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 27 and 29 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and was fined £40,000 and £60,000 respectively. They were ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £4633.76 and a statutory surcharge of £120.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: August 24, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown