Regulatory Update - October 2018

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01 November, 2018

Construction Company and Director Prosecuted for Dangerous Building Site

A construction company was fined and its managing director ordered to carry out 150 community service after HSE Inspectors found dangerous conditions at its building site.

According to the HSE, inspectors had visited the site in Sherborne Gardens, London, following an incident in January 2017 and found evidence of poor health and safety conditions on site "including dangerous work at height, a lack of suitable equipment, and untrained operatives working without adequate supervision".

C J Langs Limited pleaded guilty to failing to plan, manage and monitor the work on site in breach of regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000.

The managing director Mr Kewie Doherty was found responsible for the poor conditions on site in breach of section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work and to pay prosecution costs of £1,673. Mr Doherty was also disqualified from being a company director for 3 years.

Forbes comment

It is notable that the Managing Director was held personally liable for the breach of health and safety duties, as well as the limited company. In recent years, the HSE has shown an increased determination to prosecute senior individuals in a firm. Whilst the Managing Director in this instance received community service and disqualification from being a director for 3 years, other possible sanctions include fines and imprisonment.

Construction Company Fined £1.25 million After Exposing Public to Carbon Monoxide

Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd has been fined £1.25million after exposing members of the public to carbon monoxide fumes.

The HSE found that Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd had built a block of flats. In 2014 they carried out some remedial works to an external wall which required the demolition and reconstruction of the wall. During the works the company failed to isolate the live boilers and many of the flues to the gas boilers were damaged or blocked, exposing the residents to a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Following the works, a resident smelt gas and called Southern Gas Networks. When gas engineers arrived at the building, they realised the seriousness of the situation and reported the incident under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd as the principal contractor pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to ensure an adequate system of work was in place to manage the risks from working around the live flues.

The company was fined £1.25 million and ordered to pay cost of £23,972.33.

Forbes comment

The company exposed the residents to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and although the investigation found that in only one flat there was a proven high likelihood of risk to the occupant, the level of fine reflects the high culpability and risk of harm, the seriousness of the offence and the turnover of the company.

Bandsaw Injury Leads to Fine After Worker Loses Fingers

A company has been fined after an employee suffered a life changing injury following the partial amputation of three of his fingers after an injury occurred whilst cleaning a band re-saw.

An investigation by the HSE found the machine was not adequately braked and therefore the cutting blade took an excessive time to stop. The HSE also found failings in the guarding of the machine and concluded that the worker had not received sufficient training.

Timberline DIY Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £40,000 with £8,000 costs.

Forbes comment

New woodworking machines should all come fitted with some form of braking where necessary but employers also need to ensure that older machines meet the relevant health and safety standards. The HSE advises that employers should carry out a risk assessment to determine whether the retrofitting of braking to machines is necessary. Guidance can be found on the HSE website.

For more information contact Ridwaan Omar in our Insurance department via email or phone on 01254 222457. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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