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Gee Construction fined £10,000 for work at height failings

23 Jul 10 Gee Construction has been prosecuted for failing to protect its workers from falls at height on a site in South Wales.

Gee Construction has been prosecuted for failing to protect its workers from falls at height on a site in South Wales.

The Basildon-based firm was principal contractor on the site at Castlegate, Caerphilly when a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited on 22 October 2009.

The inspector found a number of shortcomings including unguarded lift shafts on the first and second floors, and inadequate edge protection to prevent workers from falls - one of the main causes of deaths in the construction industry.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 24 May and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,514.25.

Gee Construction had previously received two prohibition notices for work at height issues in 2008 and 2009.

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HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick said: "When we visited the site, we found clear failings that left workers at risk of falling from height, and it was necessary to stop all activity above ground floor level until safe systems of work were put in place.

"As principal contractors, the company was responsible for the safety of everyone on the site. It had previously received warnings from HSE and its own safety consultants about safely working at height, but clearly this advice had been ignored.

"Fortunately, despite the increased risk no-one was injured on this site, but this case must serve as a warning to companies of the need to ensure working at height is properly managed."

Statistics from 2008/2009 show that 53 people died in the construction industry in the United Kingdom, 21 of which were as a result of a fall from a height greater than two metres.

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