The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) visited a site in Littleborough on 9th September 2014 after being alerted by a concerned member of the public.
On arrival the inspector found two large unsupported excavations on either side of the site: one next to a pub car park and another next to a domestic residence. Operatives were seen working in the direct vicinity of the unsupported faces, which were more than four metres deep. Small piles of debris at the bottom of the excavations suggested there had already been some movement.
The contractor, Brierstone Ltd, was issued with an immediate prohibition notice stopping work being carried out within five meters of the excavations.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that Brierstone Ltd had failed to take steps to ensure that the excavations were adequately supported to prevent collapse and possible injury to the site workers.
Brierstone Ltd of Sterling house, Middleton Road, Chadderton, Manchester was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,190.97 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
HSE inspector Laura Moran said after the hearing: “Before starting groundworks, contractors must ensure that the risks associated with the creation of excavations have been properly assessed, that a temporary works engineer has been appointed to design a suitable means of supporting any excavations, and the controls identified are implemented in order to prevent collapse.
“Putting workers lives at risk will not be tolerated and HSE will take action even where there is no injury.”