Contractor fined for unsafe excavations

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A Manchester-based building contractor has been fined for putting workers and members of the public at risk…

Brierstone Limited has been prosecuted for failing to ensure the safety of workers and the public.

The Manchester-based firm received an immediate Prohibition Notice (PN) from a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector and was ordered to stop work within five metres of the excavations.

The case, which was brought before Trafford Magistrates’ Court, revealed a visit was made to the site on 9 September 2014, after concerns were raised by a member of the public relating to unsupported excavations.

The HSE inspector found failings during the visit, in particular two large unsupported excavations on either side of the site. These were located adjacent to the car park of a public house and next to a domestic premise. Operatives were witnessed working in the vicinity of the unsupported faces, which were in excess of four metres deep. The inspector said debris at the bottom of the excavations suggested there had already been movement.

The firm was accused of failing to enact measures to ensure excavations were supported or battered back to prevent potential danger to workers.

Brierstone Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £2,000. Costs of £1,190.97 were also given to the firm.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “Before starting groundworks, contractors must ensure that the risks associated with the creation of excavations have been properly assessed, that a temporary works engineer has been appointed to design a suitable means of supporting any excavations, and the controls identified are implemented in order to prevent collapse.

“Putting workers lives at risk will not be tolerated and HSE will take action even where there is no injury.”

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