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EXCAVATION POSED RISK TO CHILDREN

Developer fined after failing to act on formal warnings

An Oldham developer has been ordered to pay £3,725 in fines and prosecution costs after ignoring two formal safety warnings from HSE and putting the lives of local residents at risk.

Mahmood Khokhar failed to make safe a 1.8m deep excavation in a residential area. 

Magistrates heard that Mr Khokhar failed to comply with two Improvement Notices issued by an HSE inspector following a visit to the site on 1 June 2009.

The notices required the excavation to be made safe to stop it collapsing, and fencing to be erected to prevent people from falling into the opening.

Child’s ball spotted in unsafe excavation

Laura Moran, a construction inspector at HSE Greater Manchester, said:

“Mr Khokhar ignored the warnings and advice we gave him about the safety of the site. There was a well-used path and an alley along the side and back of the property so there were plenty of passers-by.

“On one visit, I spotted a child’s ball in the bottom of the pit. I dread to think what could have happened if they’d tried to fetch it, as the sides of the trench were starting to collapse.”

The HSE Inspector added that Mr Khokhar had been given every opportunity to put matters right:

“We always try to give small companies and self-employed builders advice on health and safety before going down the route of prosecution. But Mr Khokhar failed to meet the 21-day deadline for making improvements to the site.

“When I revisited after the deadline had passed, the trench was unstable and there was no fencing. I gave him another six days to make improvements but he did nothing. We therefore had no choice but to prosecute.”

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