Worker safety ignored at building site

A construction company has been fined £40,000 for repeatedly failing to manage safety at a building site, risking personal injury to workers.

The site in Ramsgate, Kent, run by Ecobuild Homes Ltd was visited by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) seven times in five months due to the risk of construction accidents occurring.

The visits to the site in Harbour Street where the company was redeveloping a restaurant into flats were carried out between July and November 2012. On one occasion inspectors had no choice but to stop some work immediately owing to the risk of injury faced by workers falling from height and issues with electrical safety, Canterbury magistrates heard.

Construction safety breaches

Ecobuild Homes was served with three prohibition notices halting specified work activities and two improvement notices setting out required enhancements to safety standards.

The site manager was also issued with a prohibition notice because the operation of the site was well below minimum legal safety standards.

HSE found problems relating to fire safety, accumulation of rubble, debris and bricks falling into a neighbouring property and site security.

Ecobuild Homes, based in Ashford, was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The company, which failed to appear in court for the second time, was fined £40,000 and also ordered to pay costs of £10,035.

Building site ‘a shambles’

After the hearing, HSE inspector Caroline Penwill said: “There were elements of this development that had evidently become a shambles – but a dangerous one.

“If HSE visits a construction site and has to issue prohibition notices preventing further work, that in itself shows that there is a very real and immediate risk to workers there and possibly to members of the public.”

Source: HSE

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