Huge Fines for Companies that Disregard Health & Safety
8 Jun

The following brief provides a detailed example of why it is important to maintain health and safety in the workplace:

Coast & Country Construction and Paul Humphries Architects have both been sentenced after serious breaches of their health and safety duties.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard that a concern was raised about the lack of health and safety controls at a large timber frame extension being built onto Manor Lodge Residential Home in Exmouth and when inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the site they found numerous health and safety breaches.

The Inspection

During the site inspection, uncontrolled high-risk activities were witnessed that put workers at risk of death, serious injuries or ill health. The risks included falls from height, fire, slips and trips and poorly controlled wood dust. The inspection found there was a total disregard for health and safety and site management. In particular, the risk of fire spread associated with the construction of a timber frame extension adjoining an existing building. Eighty physically and/or mentally impaired residents of the home were put at risk of injury or death due to the possibility of fire spreading into the home.

The Investigation

The subsequent investigation by the HSE found that the work was not properly planned, nor appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner. Coast & Country Construction, as the principal contractor, had a duty to control how the work was carried out and to ensure that the work would be completed safely. The timber frame extension work was designed by Paul Humphries Architects who failed to perform their duties as the principal designer and failed to consider the risk of fire spread to the vulnerable residents.

The Fines

Coast & Country Construction were found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and were fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,039, while Paul Humphries Architects were found guilty of breaching Regulation 11 (1) and 11 (3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regs 2015, and were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,039.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Nicole Buchanan said “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fail to control workplace risks appropriately.”

To discuss the health and safety requirements for your organisation email Lauren Dickinson