Construction company fined for unsafe work at height practices

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Construction company, SSF Construction has been fined £48,000 for breaching work at height regulations and other unsafe site operations during a routine inspection

HSE inspectors found unsafe working at height practices and other unsafe site operations during a routine inspection of a construction site in Redditch.

HSE investigation

Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard how on 8 October 2019, a routine inspection was undertaken at a construction site in Redditch, Worcestershire following a report of a fall from height.

During the inspection, there was evidence of poor management of work at height, and numerous other uncontrolled site safety risks. This included unsafe work on a flat roof where there was no edge protection as required by the regulations to prevent a fall from height, despite a fall from the same flat roof eight days earlier.

Prohibition Notices were served immediately in response to the work at height breach and for unsafe access and egress into the building.

An Improvement Notice was served in relation to planning for work at height and a Notification of Contravention was also served for other identified failings.

SSF Construction pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. They were fined £48,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,443.

‘Taking proactive enforcement action’

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Gregory, said: “The company had not learnt the lesson from the recent fall from height and failed to ensure that appropriate fall prevention or mitigation measures had been put in place, so there was the potential for further falls from height and serious injuries or fatalities.

“Other significant risks identified during the inspection confirmed a widespread failure to manage and monitor the site to protect workers and others from foreseeable risks.

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure that work activities are appropriately planned, managed and monitored, and that suitable control measures are both identified and implemented.

“HSE will not hesitate to take proactive enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards – it is clear that in this case we were left with no choice but issue these notices and prosecute.”

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