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CDM CLIENT, DIRECTOR AND CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED

Building contractor fined alongside client after failing to manage safety

HSE inspection of a construction project in December 2009 revealed that project planning and essential safety measures were in place on the site of a new two-storey extension at the McIndoe Surgical Centre in East Grinstead.

Contractor Dean Hutt had been undertaking construction work on site for over a year when a complaint about site safety prompted HSE inspectors to visit the project.

The subsequent investigation revealed Mr Hutt, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction of the extension, including the failure to properly supervise any working at height. 

Total lack of planning discovered

Prohibition Notices were issued stopping work after the inspector found chainsaws being used without any personal protective equipment and scaffolding unfit for use.

Before the HSE inspection began a workman was seen on platform fitted to telescopic handler at some 6m using a chainsaw without safety protection or a harness to prevent him falling.

The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and CDM 2007 Regulation 22(1)(a). He was fined £1,500 ordered to pay costs of £3,056.

The project client, McIndoe Surgical Centre Ltd of East Grinstead, also pleaded guilty to breaching CDM 2007 Regulation 16. The company was fined £2,000 ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,796.

The director of the surgical centre, Peter Arnstein, was also prosecuted for failing to ensure Mr Hutt had properly planned the construction project. He also admitted to breaching CDM 2007 Regulation 16. He was fined £1,500 ordered to pay costs of £2,181.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Russell Beckett said:

“Working at height is still the major cause of workplace fatalities. It is important that principal contractors plan work that they are intending to carry out.

This prosecution stems from a total lack of planning by anyone involved in the project.

The appointment of a principal contractor who did not have the competence or training to run a large project should not have happened and it is a miracle that no one was injured at the site.

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