A construction firm has been sentenced after failing to put measures in place to prevent falls from height and to control risks associated with fire.
Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how the construction firm failed to ensure the safety of their workers and nearby residents during the construction of six timber frame houses in Manchester.
An inspection by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found three men working on the flat roof of the structure on 23 August 2017. The roof ranged from two to three stories high, with no edge protection in place to prevent falls and access to the roof was via untied ladders resting on unsecured floorboards inside the building.
Serious fire safety failings were also identified on site with the company failing to consider both the risks associated with constructing from timber, and the measures needed to reduce the risk of a fire occurring and spreading across and beyond the site.
There was also an accumulation of combustible materials on site, a lack of adequate site security and there were no general fire precautions in place.
A material with a suitable level of fire resistance should have been used for the construction, taking into account the close proximity of the occupied apartment block, and the construction of the timber frame should have been phased to allow the building in of suitable compartmentation to reduce the risk of fire spread.
The construction firm pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 29(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £26,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Regulation 29(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 states that: “Suitable and sufficient steps must be taken to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of injury to a person during the carrying out of construction work arising from fire or explosion.”
Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that “where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”
HSE inspector Laura Royales said after the hearing: “The failings on this site put not only the site operatives but also those living in the adjacent apartment block at risk of serious injury or even death.”
“Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards, even where no incident occurs.”