Worker safety put at risk by property firm

Worker safety put at risk by property firmA property company has been fined after workers were found working dangerously at height at a site in Lancashire.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the former aerospace plant in Hargher Street, Burnley, in August last year. They observed a worker stripping slates from a fragile roof without any measures in place to prevent a fall through it, or mitigate the potential life-threatening effects of such a fall.

Appearing at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, KML (Properties) pleaded guilty to a breach of Work at Height Regulations and was fined œ10,400.

The company, of Brunswick Street, Nelson, also pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and were fined œ2,000 for each. These breaches related to failing to plan the work being undertaken and also to provide adequate welfare facilities for operatives carrying out work on site.

HSE inspector Jacqueline Western, who investigated the case, said: “These breaches of health and safety legislation were entirely preventable.

“Falls through fragile roofs are a common cause of work-related death or personal injury. Poor welfare facilities can cause significant health issues for workers – in this case the concern for operatives on site was exposure to biological hazard from bird droppings, rat infestation and contamination of the site.

“Comprehensive guidance and information is available to download free of charge from HSE’s website and it is not unreasonable to expect a company in the business of construction and demolition to be aware of what the law requires.”

Almost half (45%) of deaths on construction sites in Britain last year were as a result of falls from height, and 581 workers suffered major injuries (35% of the total) as a result of such a fall.

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