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Builder ignored HSE inspector’s safety advice13 July 2012
A proactive HSE inspection resulted in the prosecution of a Lincolnshire builder, who was charged with putting workers at risk.
Andre Wilkin, trading as Hillen Projects, was the main contractor during the refurbishment of a detached house in Danesgate, Lincoln. On 1 March last year, HSE inspector Martin Waring was in the area when he saw work being carried out at the property. He decided to make a visit as part of the Executive’s national construction safety initiative.
During his visit the inspector found numerous defects to a scaffold, which was not being used at the time. The structure was resting on sole boards, which were in a poor condition. There were also missing guardrails and numerous slip and trip hazards due to materials being littered across the site.
Inspector Waring returned to the site six weeks later and found that Wilkin had made no efforts to make the site safe. He also witnessed two men working on the scaffold, despite it being in an unsafe condition.
Wilkin was issued two Prohibition Notices, which required him to stop work until materials at the site were in good order and a competent person had made the scaffold safe.
Inspector Waring said: “Mr Wilkin was offered plenty of advice and had the opportunity to rectify the problems that were identified. Instead he chose to continue putting workers at risk.
“It is essential that construction work, particularly work at height and site organisation, is properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.”
Andre Wilkin appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 11 July and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and reg.4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £5000 and ordered to pay £1800 in costs.
In mitigation, Wilkin said he had attempted to store materials safely but there wasn’t much space at the site. He said there were other contractors at the site, over whom he had no in control, and they continued to make the site messy. He had no previous safety convictions.
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