Construction company in court over inadequate health and safety standards

A national construction company has been fined after an unannounced inspection by Health and Safety Executive inspectors found poor welfare standards, dangerous electrical systems and inadequate health and safety provision on site.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how concerns had been raised regarding the health and safety standards at the construction site of the former Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock, Liverpool, being renovated by Abercorn Construction Limited. A site inspection found the welfare cabin used by employees to be in poor condition, containing exposed live wires and damaged electrical sockets, a mouldy dishwasher and an accumulation of rubbish both inside and outside the cabin with the potential to attract vermin.

A general site inspection found numerous uncontrolled high risks such as a damaged cable on a 400v transformer, insufficient fire alarms, a lack of fire extinguishers and signage indicating emergency routes and multiple examples of unprotected edges and openings exposing workers to risk of a fall from height. There was also inadequate pedestrian and vehicle segregation, poor order, poor lighting and the risk of exposure to live electrical conductors.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor the works which had resulted in these health and safety issues arising on site. These risks had already been highlighted to the company in previous written enforcement. Despite compliance being achieved, poor standards had been allowed to develop again.

Abercorn Construction Limited of 50 Bedford Street, Belfast pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £77,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,025.52.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Padfield commented: ”This type of proactive prosecution will highlight to the industry that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies for repeated breaches of the law.

“Good management of health and safety on site is crucial to the successful delivery of a construction project and principal contractors have an important role in managing the risks of construction work and providing strong leadership to ensure standards are understood and followed”

02 December 2021

What we think

Regulation 13(1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 outlines the duties of the Principal Contarctor during the construction phase. A primary responsibility  under these regulations is to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during the construction phase. Part of the planning stage includes providing appropriate welfare facilities that are kept clean and tidy and maintained in a safe condition. A responsible Principal Contractor will ensure appropriate arrangements are in place, which may include pro-active monitoring of the facilities.

Regulation 6(3) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 state that where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury. In practice this can mean putting in place appropriate control measures such as edge protection to prevent a fall, man-safe systems and/or safety netting which would limit the distance and consequence of a fall.

How we can help

Wiser Safety are able to assist Principal Contractors at the planning stage by undertaking a pre-construction audit to determine site requirements and provide advice on:

  • Suitable and sufficient welfare facilities that are appropriate to the size and nature of the project.
  • The classification and quantity of fire extinguishers.
  • The Location of Fire Points.
  • Positioning of Fire Safety and other safety signs and notices.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Fire exit routes and assembly point.
  • Development of a Construction Phase Plan.
  • Working at Height.
  • Protection against falls from height.
  • Traffic and pedestrian management.

We can also provide training for your workforce so they are able to work safely at height.

Training can either be delivered in-person, in a classroom environment with practical elements or we can provide eLearning training. We have cost effective training solutions to suit your training needs and budget. See all our courses

Contact us now to discuss a workable solution. Please feel free to call us on 01732 446503 or message us