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DEVELOPER AND DIRECTORS PROSECUTED UNDER CDM

Member of public fell to his death on unsecured construction site

A Brighton-based construction company and two of its directors have today (30 June 2010) been fined a total of £75,000 following the death of a member of the public at a development site.

PIB (UK) Ltd has been ordered to pay over £36k in fines and prosecution costs. 

Director John Blankson (55) of 27 Glen Rise, Brighton (who was also the project client) breached CDM 2007 Regulations 20(1) (a) (b) and (c) and was ordered to pay over £18k.

Fellow director, Steven Moore (44) of Falmer Road, Woodingdean also faced legal action. He was ordered to pay over £36k.

Mr Moore was also disqualified as a director for five years.

Young man fell over unprotected edge

PIB (UK) Ltd was refurbishing a large semi-detached house into five separate flats. 

Lewes Crown Court heard how Edward Dean (age 24) had been out socialising when in the early hours of Monday 30th June 2008 he wandered onto the construction site.

The site was not properly secured and Mr Dean was able to enter the work area. He tripped over an unprotected edge and fell 2.4 metres into a basement courtyard.

He was found dead later in the morning.

Unmanned sites must be properly secured

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said:

“Unmanned construction sites should be properly secured such that people and especially children cannot unknowingly wander into places of danger. It was both illegal and irresponsible for PIB UK Ltd and the company directors to disregard the importance of security on this site – leaving obvious hazards that in this tragic case resulted in the unnecessary loss of a young life. Sites can be easily and cheaply secured by providing suitable fencing or hoarding, using lockable gates and providing clear signage.”

HSE is calling upon building contractors and clients having building work undertaken to ensure they are familiar with the law and implement industry recognised safe practice before work starts. 

Comment

This is an interesting prosecution because:

  1. It shows that company directors can and will face legal action in addition to the corporate body. The director fines in this case are not insignificant and disqualification is an additional penalty.
  2. It appears the director client was prosecuted as the CDM Coordinator [CDM Reg 14(4)(a)] in the absence of a CDM-C being appointed. This is a salutary reminder to clients that where a CDM-C is not appointed early in a project the client will be responsible for the CDM-C duties in addition to client duties!

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