Manchester builder fined for dangerous excavations
A Manchester contractor has been dealt a fine for unsafe practices following a 2014 inspection from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Excavation work at the site of a care home was stopped immediately when the HSE realised that the work would endanger members of the public and workers.
Brierstone Ltd was handed a Prohibition Notice (PN) by an HSE inspector, who stopped any work taking place within five metres of the excavation sites. HSE told Trafford Magistrates' Court that an inspector had gone to the site on September 2014, following a report from a member of the public who was concerned about the safety of the operation. The excavations were unsupported, which could lead to collapse and site workers being injured.
Two excavations were in place, located one on each side of the site. One excavation was at the side of a domestic building and the other was at the side of a public house car park. The excavations were over four metres deep, and workers were spotted working in the vicinity. As the excavations were unsupported, they could have caused significant injury if they collapsed.
Although there had not been any injury, the PN was issued so that work would have to stop immediately. The HSE stated that it would prosecute when unsafe working practices were engaged in, regardless of whether any injury had occurred. The company was fined £2,000 and also had to pay £1,190.97 in costs.
Laura Moran, an inspector of HSE, confirmed that a works engineer should have been appointed to create a means of supporting the excavation. The company had a duty to assess risks and put in place any safety measures required. This could have included the use of PPE or workwear designed for the job.