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    PROSECUTION FOLLOWS EIGHT PROHIBITION NOTICES

    Contractor fined for ignoring warnings and ‘appalling’ project management 

    Unicorn Services Limited of Kent has been ordered to pay over £25,000 in fines and prosecution costs after continuing unsafe working practices despite repeated safety warnings on a project in Croyden near London where a four-storey block of flats was being constructed.

    Westminster Magistrates’ heard (25 April) that in September 2011 a HSE inspector served eight Prohibition Notices to stop dangerous practices at the site after identifying serious safety breaches. The Notices covered scaffolding, unsafe work at height, fire risks and electrical equipment. The company also supplied “appallingly inadequate” documentation for risk assessments and project management.

    When HSE returned to the site in October 2011 little or no improvement had been made to many of the illegal practices. An Improvement Notice was served requiring site manager safety training. However, the compliance date was not met.

    Potential death trap with scant regard for safety

    Unicorn Services Limited, of Bexley, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 26(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £5,940 in prosecution costs.

    After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said:

    “Unicorn Services Limited blatantly ignored enforcement notices and continued to neglect its duty of care to its workforce, most of whom were vulnerable migrant workers.

    “The construction site at Sylvan Hill was a potential death trap, with scant regard for safety or employee welfare. Even though there were no reported incidents at the site, serious safety breaches were routinely committed that could have resulted in death or serious injury.

    “The work was underpinned by poor management and appallingly inadequate paperwork – total recklessness according to the court. General standards fell well below those expected of a competent principal contractor, which the Health and Safety Executive will simply not tolerate.”

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