Housebuilder prosecuted for failing to fence off construction site

A South Wales housebuilder has been given a two year conditional discharge for repeatedly ignoring warnings to fence off a potentially dangerous construction site.

Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court heard today (25 July) that Stuart Daniels, trading as S&R Builders, failed to fence off the site at the Black Prince pub, on the B4251 road at Ynysddu, near Caerphilly, between 9 November 2012 and 9 January 2013, despite being advised to do so by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE first inspected the site on 22 October 2012 and found the site posed a risk because there was open access and excavation work had already started. Stuart Daniel was given verbal advice to fence the site.

HSE carried out a second inspection on 9 November and found that the excavations were even more extensive, yet still the site was unfenced. Mr Daniels received written guidance to restrict access, but a further visit on 14 December revealed that nothing had changed, despite the fact that the excavations were now approximately 3.5 metres deep and represented a significant fall risk.

At a fourth inspection on 9 January 2013 some fencing has been erected, but it was inadequate and the site was still easy to access through a driveway.

Stuart Daniels, trading as S&R Builders, of Lawn Terrace, Crumlin, Caerphilly, was sentenced to a two year conditional discharge, ordered to pay £859.85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £15 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Kirkpatrick said:

“There is a clear legal requirement to adequately fence off construction sites that pose safety risks for inquisitive children, vulnerable people and others. This site posed a risk to the general public and Stuart Daniels was given advice to fence it off shortly after the first inspection, yet he chose to ignore that advice.

“Fatalities have occurred in the past when people have entered inadequately fenced construction sites. With the school holidays underway, this prosecution serves as a timely reminder to others to ensure they prevent such sites from becoming dangerous playgrounds for children.”

Plus Safety Comment: What does it take to convince some people that the authorities are serious!——-

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Worker gives two fingers to company’s negligence

Date:  8 July 2013

Hall & Woodhouse Ltd,  a Dorset brewery has been prosecuted for safety breaches and negligence after an employee lost two fingers in unguarded machinery.

The 32 year-old worker, who does not wish to be named, was trying to clear a blockage in a grain dust extractor at the Hall and Woodhouse brewery in Blandford during a night shift on 27 August 2012.

He reached into the chute of the extractor to dislodge the build-up, but his right hand made contact with the rotary valve, which was still running. His middle and index fingers were severed.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which today (8 July) prosecuted Hall & Woodhouse Ltd at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court for a breach of safety legislation.

In its new location, the operatives had been tasked with emptying the grain dust extractor when necessary.

HSE found Hall and Woodhouse had failed to identify the risks associated with the grain dust extractor in its new location. It was foreseeable that employees would try to deal with a blockage if one occurred and an alternative system should have been provided to prevent access by workers to dangerous moving parts.

Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. of The Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Dorset, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Plus Safety Comment: Is it not conceivable that if a blockage occurred the conscientious employee would try to unblock it, and if there was no specific implement to do this then he would improvise and use his hand! Once again this is not rocket science. The cost of this one accident would have covered the cost of installing a proper H&S management system to prevent incidents like this happening not only to this poor chap but everyone else, and to ensure the company fulfilled all of its H&S duties. Is it really too much to pay?