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    TRADING STANDARDS AND HSE ACT IN CONCERT

    Director given prison term over fraud and health and safety breaches

    A building company and its director have been prosecuted after carrying out unsafe and unnecessary roofwork following a joint investigation by Worcestershire Trading Standards Service and HSE which uncovered a string of health and safety and fraud offences.

    Worcester Crown Court heard how the defendants were engaged to carry out the work on a domestic property in Redditch in May 2017. A complaint was made to Trading Standards who instructed an expert to examine the roof.

    The expert confirmed the work was wholly unnecessary and had no value whatsoever. During the course of their investigations Trading Standards also uncovered potential health and safety issues.

    Walking on roof without precautions 

    HSE inspectors found that the company was carrying out work at height without scaffolding and there were no measures in place to prevent employees from falling.

    People were walking on the roof of the house with no safety measures in place to prevent them from falling and Mr Birch was present and fully aware of the people working unsafely on the roof.

    At the time the complaint was received Mr Birch was also before the court for similar offences committed while trading as a sole trader under the name BBS Improvements.

    Mr Birch admitted an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and an offence under the Consumer Protection from unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in relation to unnecessary work carried out at a property in Bromsgrove during June 2016. He also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

    Partnership to tackle serious crime

    Mr Birch also asked for 5 other, similar matters to be taken into consideration including two offences of failing to provide the 10 Year Insurance Backed Guarantee.

    For the Trading Standards offences and the HSE offences:

    • Barrie John Henry Birch – was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from being a Company Director for 5 years.
    • BBS Improvements Limited – pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the company was fined £200.

    Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Matthew Whitaker said:

    “This prosecution demonstrates how the HSE works in partnership with other enforcers like Trading Standards, to tackle serious crime and dangerous working practices which put people at risk of death and serious injury.

    Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.“

    Cllr Lucy Hodgson said:

    “The work done by our small team of Trading Standards Officers to protect Worcestershire consumers cannot go unrecognised.

    This type of fraudulent activity will not be tolerated in Worcestershire. Our Trading Standards Officers actively investigate criminal complaints of rogue builders such as this, and will continue to do so to protect the public.“

     

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