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DEVELOPER PROSECUTED FOR FAILURE TO MANAGE SAFETY

Court fines firm after lack of response to HSE advice and prohibitions  

Prestige Homes Construction Company Ltd has been prosecuted after three stop orders were issued following visits to a construction project in Greater Manchester.

HSE first served the developer with a Prohibition Notice in May 2008 following inspection of the site of a new ‘mansion’ on Stanhope Road in Bowden where open excavation edges were found. A follow-up visit found that scaffolding had been provided and met the required standards.

During a further inspection in July 2009 large amounts of ‘rubble’ were found around the site making access dangerous leading to a second Prohibition Notice.

Finally, when inspectors visited in August 2009 scaffolding was found to be in a dangerous condition with missing guardrails/toe boards and gaps in the platforms. HSE therefore took the decision to prosecute.

Two strikes and out

Prestige Homes Construction Company Ltd was charged with breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take sufficient action to prevent falls, and Regulation 27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to keep the construction site in good order.

Prestige Homes, of Bury New Road in Manchester, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,792 after admitting two health and safety offences at Minshull Street’s Manchester Crown Court on 6 May 2011. Ian Betley, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“The lives of several construction workers were put at risk because Prestige Homes failed to make sure the site remained safe. We gave the company two chances to improve standards but, in the end, we had no choice but to prosecute.

Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of injury. We found missing guardrails on two separate occasions that meant it would have been dangerous to work on the site.

The amount of rubble we spotted when we inspected the site in July 2009 also made it very difficult to carry out work safely. It was only by chance that no one was seriously injured.”

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