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DEVELOPER IGNORED HSE EXCAVATION STOP NOTICE

Report of concerns identified unprotected 6m deep excavation

Homes developer Eastlake Developments Ltd has been fined for undertaking potentially dangerous work and ignoring an HSE Prohibition Notice requiring the work to cease until improvements had been made.

The company was installing septic tanks in a 6m deep excavation for cottages near Chepstow, in July 2013 and left an “unqualified worker” in charge of the project.

Cwmbran Magistrates heard (25 April) that an HSE inspector visited the site following concerns raised about the safety of workers. Significant failings were found, including the large excavation which had unsupported sides and no barriers to prevent falls in the open excavation.

The site manager lack the training necessary to manage excavations and a Prohibition Notice was served to prevent any further work taking place.

Despite this action the company continued to work in the excavation and during a return visit inspectors found a second tank had been installed.

Failure to comply with Notices taken seriously

Eastlake Developments Ltd, of Parc Maes Ffynnon, Itton, near Chepstow, pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation and was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,187 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Steve Richardson said:

“More people die working in the construction industry than any other trade so companies must plan, manage and control construction work in a safe way. That means employing competent people who understand the risks of the job under their control.

Failure to observe Prohibition or Improvement Notices served by HSE is a criminal offence and is taken very seriously by the courts.”

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