Safety breaches see two construction firms fined for basement project

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Two construction firms have been fined following an inspection, which found serious safety failings on a double basement construction project

An investigation into safety failings on a double basement project has led to two construction firms receiving fines.

Concerns were raised after a labourer sustained a broken arm while working on the site. Emergency services were called out to the property in London to treat the worker and reported their concerns about the safety of the site to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The investigation found that worker were at significant risk of falling into deep excavations being carried out on the project. Furthermore, there were no propping arrangements in place to ensure the excavation remained stable or to protect the existing building. The site was “shut down” immediately.

Concerns previously raised

The HSE investigation found concerns had been raised previously by an independent consultant a few months earlier but had been ignored. The Principal Contractor Lifehouse (London) Ltd appointed Nu Space Design Ltd as the contractor. Nu Space Design Ltd was hired to carry out the excavation work. One of its directors was appointed as the site manager. However, both firms overlooked hiring a competent person to ensure the excavations were safe.

Lifehouse (London) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM). The firm was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,141.50 in costs.

Nu Space (Design) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching CDM Regulation 15(2). It received a lesser fine of £20,000 and was ordered to pay £1,067.10 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said: “Both companies were aware of the dangers on the site following the warnings in a consultant’s report, but they failed to act on the recommendations and a worker was injured.

“When carrying out any construction work, whether new build or refurbishments you have to ensure it is done safely.

“In this case they should have appointed a competent person to carry out regular inspections of the excavations to ensure they did not collapse onto workers or cause the building to become unstable during the work.”

The Offsite Construction Survey

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