Firm goes to court following unsafe refurbishment work

A London-based construction company – FN Property Limited – has been fined following an inspection conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE inspectors discovered that refurbishment work being carried out at a property in Acton, between July 2013 to January 2014, was unsafe and being managed in a way that posed a high risk to workers on site.

The property’s basement had been excavated before any propping had been installed to provide structural support, and a risk of falls from an unsafe height was not prevented by the use of effective safety measures.

A first inspection was conducted by HSE after a complaint made by workers at the site highlighted the risk of collapse.

HSE gave a total of two Prohibition Notices to stop dangerous work, but the company failed to comply.

The company was fined £10,000 (and an additional £1,213 in costs) after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this week.

Acting against legal requirements, FN Property also failed to hold Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance for its workforce, to support its workers if they were to suffer in an incident.

HSE Inspector Pete Collingwood said: “The dangers posed by unsupported excavations are well known in the construction industry, and it should have been abundantly clear that the provision and use of shoring was a basic necessity.

“Later in the project measures in place to protect against falls from height were found to be inadequate on two separate visits to site.

“To compound this, the contractor had no Employers Liability Insurance in the event of an accident occurring.”

All employers have a legal obligation to ensure that their workers are protected from health and safety issues in the workplace.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.