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  3. Serious injury at Manchester site prevented by HSE intervention

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) thanked a member of the public who had reported serious health and safety issues about a shop refurbishment in Manchester.

Mango, the chain of clothing stores, had hired Betcat International Limited to carry out alteration works at its Manchester store on Market Street. The contracting company provided an employee to act as site manager for the work, hiring subcontractors for the remainder of the duties on site.

The retail unit was to be completely refurbished with two new staircases, the removal of an existing staircase and the installation of a lift. After a member of the public had reported concerns to HSE, its inspectors paid a visit to the site of the store on 29th July last year. An inspection of the work area produced a number of violations of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Tower scaffolds had been erected without edge protection, while one of the structures was at an angle. Timber was being cut, producing large amounts of dust into the air and on surfaces. An extraction system should have been installed as part of PPE (personal protective equipment), but the contractors had failed to do so. Whilst the toilet facilities had been removed, no temporary arrangements had been made and no washing facilities had been provided.

The contractor was fined for two offences and ordered to pay costs. Two Improvement Notices were served, along with six Prohibition Notices. A representative of HSE said that serious injury or even death had been prevented by the actions of the concerned citizen.

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