Health and safety on building site
Health and Safety, SF Compliance Solutions

Health and Safety Failings Lands Building Firm With Huge Fine

A building company in the North West has been fined by the HSE for a ‘catalogue of health and safety failings’. 

The failings included incidents included workers photographed being lifted up to the first floor by a digger. Unfortunately the photograph, which was taken by a concerned member of the public, apparently showed the workers sitting in the bucket of the digger.

Health and Safety failings

Due to the concerns that had been raised, HSE inspectors visited the housing development four times between 2018 and 2021. Eventually the HSE had to issue contractors with prohibition notices for ‘inadequate scaffolding and Improvement Notices for a lack of welfare facilities and insecure fencing’. 

Some of the breaches, according to the HSE included:

  • Lack of sufficient welfare
  • Unsuitable controls for working at height
  • Inadequate protection from silica dust exposure

As a result, the Manchester contractors were served with various notifications of contraventions, prohibition and improvement notices. Yet despite the repeated notifications, the HSE were not satisfied that the building firm had done enough. Consequently fines of around £120,000 were issued to the firm, as well as being ordered to pay costs at Manchester magistrates court.  

Speaking at the trial in 2022, a representative for the HSE said that ‘the prosecution demonstrates that the HSE wouldn’t hesitate to take enforcement action against those companies that continuously fall below the required standards’. 

Health and Safety at work 

Because workplaces with over 5 employees should have clear health and safety policies, construction firms must take action to ensure these policies are in place before work commences. 

Furthermore, businesses that don’t feel competent in managing their health and safety compliance alone can outsource health and safety compliance to third parties. Furthermore, we’ve seen the consequences that non-compliance can bring – is it worth the risk?

In most cases the cost of health and safety compliance far outweighs the cost of fines from the HSE. Further to this, in comparison this is only a fraction of the sum of this most recent fine of £120,000. 

Risk assessments

Starting each job with a risk assessment will help to identify any risks that might occur during the process.  Irrespective of a thorough risk assessment, would we be able to predict every scenario? Put simply, no. Firstly, no one could predict workers would voluntarily get in to the bucket of a digger. Secondly, who could predict that they would have agreed to being lifted in to the air?

Consequently, the Manchester building firm will have to ensure that ongoing site safety includes training on the dangers that can occur in doing this. 

Health and safety risk assessments is an essential part of the process in reducing risk and preventing harm. In order to be compliant, businesses need to conduct regular risk assessments to ensure that risk will be kept to a minimum so that workers are aware of the dangers. 

More importantly, when risk cannot completely be erased, measures that adhere to health and safety standards should be put in place. Subsequently and over time, this will reduce the risk to all employees. 

Health and Safety with Safety First 

Safety First Group has over 10 years experience helping customers with their health and safety compliance. Conducting a risk assessment is the first step in protecting your workforce from harm and safeguarding your business against big fines.

The aim of any health and safety risk assessment is to:

  • Demonstrate how compliant you are
  • Decide on the severity of any risk that exists
  • Identify measures that need to be implemented to control any risks
  • Advise which members of staff need to be included in controlling risk
  • Provide regular risk reports

Furthermore, with a suite of services for health and safety we can help your business manage your health and safety compliance to mitigate risks and avoid fines.

In the UK, the health and safety at work act 1974 lays out the duties that all businesses need to adhere to. At Safety First we can help you meet required regulations in various areas of workplace health and safety. 

Some of our most popular health and services include:

Got questions about our compliance services?

Our experienced technicians are available to take your call on 0845 004 2133 or via email at . Alternatively you can contact us here or visit our services for more information. 

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