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Developer Lands £200K Fine For CDM Breaches

The owner of a block of flats has been fined £200,000 after allowing work on an unsafe site to restart after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector had served him enforcement notices.

13 February 2018

The owner of a block of flats has been fined £200,000 after allowing work on an unsafe site to restart after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector had served him enforcement notices.

A HSE inspector visited Pitcairn Road and found workers demolishing a two-storey block of flats in preparation for the construction of six flats.

He told IOSH Magazine: “When I asked if there was any asbestos in the building I was told there wasn’t but they could not tell me why they knew this. Due to this and the unsafe work at height I immediately prohibited work at the site.” The HSE subsequently identified that asbestos was present in the building but the workers had not disturbed it but no survey had initially been carried out by the contractor”.

Two prohibition notices were served on the contractor for asbestos and work at height. He also served two improvement notices on the property’s owner one to provide welfare facilities and the other to secure the site.

At this stage the contractor pulled out of the project, the HSE inspector said that he revisited the site several times and found no activity. However, on 3 January he received a phone call from the same complainant informing him work had restarted and the standards were still poor.

The next day, the inspector returned and found that demolition work had continued. The company owner had paid cash to untrained migrant workers, who had climbed on to the unguarded roof and thrown debris down with their hands.

The inspector added that the company owner had not appointed a principal contractor. He had also failed to engage a site manager and provided none of the required site documentation. He served a prohibition notice, closing the site down until a suitable contractor was appointed.

The company owner pleaded guilty to breaching reg 13(1) and 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Two days before the August hearing, the HSE inspector was alerted that the fencing securing the site had been removed, allowing public access to an unsafe site. On arrival, he found the site was not secured and some demolition work had been carried after work had been prohibited.

He said that the work was probably carried out before the defendant had pleaded guilty but the removal of the fencing was recent and the prosecution introduced it as an aggravating factor.
The judge fined the company owner £200,000 and ordered him pay £1,421 in costs.

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