When Health & Safety Executive inspectors made a surprise visit to a construction site at the former Tobacco Warehouse in Liverpool’s Stanley Dock, they found that the welfare cabin used by employees was unfit for use. It had exposed live wires and damaged electrical sockets, a mouldy dishwasher and an accumulation of rubbish both inside and out with the potential to attract vermin.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how concerns the HSE check on Abercorn Construction’s site found numerous uncontrolled high risks such as a damaged cable on a 400v transformer, insufficient fire alarms, a lack of fire extinguishers and signage indicating emergency routes and multiple examples of unprotected edges and openings exposing workers to risk of a fall from height. There was also inadequate pedestrian and vehicle segregation, poor order, poor lighting and the risk of exposure to live electrical conductors.
The HSE investigation found that the company had failed to effectively plan, manage and monitor the works. The risks had already been highlighted to the company in previous written enforcement. Despite compliance being achieved, poor standards had been allowed to develop again.
Abercorn Construction Limited of 50 Bedford Street, Belfast pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £77,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,025.52.
HSE inspector John Padfield said after the hearing: ”This type of proactive prosecution will highlight to the industry that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies for repeated breaches of the law. Good management of health and safety on site is crucial to the successful delivery of a construction project and principal contractors have an important role in managing the risks of construction work and providing strong leadership to ensure standards are understood and followed”