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£10k fine for dodgy basement excavation

27 Mar 15 A construction company has been fined after safety inspectors discovered it excavating a basement at a house in London without any form of propping or temporary works.

FN Property Limited was found to have exposed workers to the risk of serious injuries during the works at a property in Newton Avenue, Acton, between July 2013 and January 2014.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (26th March) that FN Property also had no valid employers’ liability compulsory insurance for its workforce.

Health & Safety Executive inspectors also found that the risk of falling from height on the project was not adequately managed. HSE twice served Prohibition Notices to stop work linked to the refurbishment during visits in January 2014.

The first HSE visit followed a complaint from workers at the site about unsafe excavations where there was a serious risk of collapse.

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FN Property Limited, of Askew Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £1,213 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE inspector Pete Collingwood said after the hearing: “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. Every employer should ensure that workers have the basic right to work in a safe environment. FN Property Ltd fell some way short in this regard.”

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