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EXCAVATION FOR FOUNDATIONS DANGEROUSLY UNSUPPORTED

Developer prosecuted after failing to follow guidance from own safety advisers

Huntsmere Projects Ltd, a Cheshire based property developer, has been prosecuted after workers worked in an unsupported excavation putting them at risk of being buried, trapped, crushed or struck by falling material.

The prosecution follows unannounced inspection of work on a new luxury five bedroom mansion in Alderley Edge in August 2010. HSE inspectors issued a Prohibition Notice and ordered workers to leave the excavation which was some 20m wide and over 5m deep.

Macclesfield Magistrates were told that well established safety measures were not been implemented despite the company having received previous guidance from HSE and its own advisers.

Structural support was not provided to the sides of the excavation which were part soft sandy clay. The excavation sides had not been sufficiently battered back to a safe angle.

A large soil heap had been placed close to the edge of the excavation and excavator track marks showed a digger had been driven along the rim of the excavation thereby increasing the risk of collapse. Barriers or fencing had not been erected to keep vehicles away from the edge, or prevent workers being injured in a fall.

Very real risk of the excavation collapsing

Huntsmere Projects Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to prevent workers being put in danger, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,837 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Catherine Willars, said:

“The lives of the people working on this project were put in danger due to the very real risk of the excavation collapsing.

Huntsmere Projects controlled the site and all the work being carried out on it, but the company failed to implement the necessary safety measures and ignored its own procedures for making excavations safe.

This prosecution should alert the construction industry to the risk of legal action where health and safety on a site falls way below acceptable standards.”

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One Response to “EXCAVATION FOR FOUNDATIONS DANGEROUSLY UNSUPPORTED”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 6TH JUNE 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] EXCAVATION FOR FOUNDATIONS DANGEROUSLY UNSUPPORTED […]