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Mon June 21 2021

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Building site 'shambles' ends in hefty fine

21 Aug 13 An Ashford-based building company has been prosecuted for repeatedly failing to manage risks on a construction site and exposing workers to needless risk of injury.

Canterbury Magistrates were told that the development site in Ramsgate, run by Ecobuild Homes Ltd, had been visited by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors seven times in five months.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Caroline Penwill said: “There were elements of this development that had evidently become a shambles - but a dangerous one. If HSE visits a construction site and has to issue prohibition notices preventing further work, that in itself shows that there is a very real and immediate risk to workers there, and possibly to members of the public.

Between July and November 2012, HSE visited the site in Harbour Street where the company was redeveloping a restaurant into flats. The court heard that on one visit, inspectors had had no choice but to stop some work at the site immediately owing to the dangers faced by workers of falling from height and issues with electrical safety.

Ecobuild Homes Ltd was served with three prohibition notices halting specified work activities, and two improvement notices setting out required improvements to safety standards. The site manager was also issued with a prohibition notice because the operation of the site was far below minimum legal safety standards.

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HSE found issues relating to fire safety, accumulation of rubble, debris and bricks falling into a neighbouring property, and site security.

Ecobuild Homes Ltd, of North Street, Ashford, Kent, was found guilty in its absence to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to comply with an improvement notice, and guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007.

Magistrates fined the company, which had failed to appear at court for the second time, a total of £40,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £10,035.

“Ecobuild Homes Ltd failed on several fronts to safeguard the workforce from risks that are well known in the construction industry. They either did not identify those risks or neglected to manage them effectively. Proper management of work activities and competent site supervision are essential but the company fell well below the required standards.”

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