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DEMOLITION DIRECTOR PROSECUTED ALONG WITH COMPANY

HSE act on photograph from member of the public exposing unsafe practices

Rabbit Demolition and Excavation Ltd and its director, Colin Bell, have both been prosecuted after failing to provide a safe means for working on a roof during the demolition in September 2011.

Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard (16 July) that a member of the public sent HSE a photograph showing workers on the site removing roof tiles from a former public house. There was no edge protection in place to prevent falls and a workman was shown standing in the bucket of an excavator being driven by director Colin Bell.

HSE found the working practices were unsafe and unnecessary and that edge protection could have been provided. Alternatively, the work could have been safely carried out using a mobile elevated working platform.

Dirctor allowed and participated in unsafe working

Rabbit Demolition and Excavation Ltd, of Lancing, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to breaching section 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The firm was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500.

Colin Bell, director of Rabbit Demolition and Excavation Ltd, of Portslade, Brighton, also pleaded guilty to the same breach. He was fined £500 with costs of £500.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denis Bodger said:

“Falls from height account for more deaths and serious injuries in the construction industry than anything else. This was a clear example of unsafe working on a roof. One slip and someone could easily have been killed or seriously injured.

It is staggering that Colin Bell not only allowed such unsafe work practice but actually participated in it. Contractors carrying out construction work, including demolition, should properly plan, manage and monitor the work to ensure that it is carried out safely.

Where work at height is undertaken, precautions should ensure that people can not be injured from falling. If people work on roofs to reclaim tiles, edge protection in the form of guard rails or other equally effective measures must be provided.”

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