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Site manager’s holiday meant risks weren’t controlled08 August 2012
A proactive HSE inspection has identified multiple safety failings at a construction site in south Wales.
On 10 August 2011, an HSE inspector visited the site at St Michael's Church in Manselton, Swansea, which was operated by T Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd. On arrival, the inspector was told that the site manager was on holiday.
During the course of the visit, the inspector observed workers not wearing protective glasses or gloves, a major concern as lime mortar was being used. The use of lime mortar creates a serious risk to health and can lead to the loss of sight, skin burns, or dermatitis. Washing facilities at the site were found to be inadequate.
The inspector also saw two employees working at height without measures in place to prevent injury caused by a fall. As a result of the failings, the HSE decided to prosecute the company.
HSE inspector Phil Nicolle explained the absence of a site manager meant there was nobody present at the site to ensure that risks to health and safety were being adequately controlled. He said: “This company put the safety of its own workforce at risk by failing to ensure the site was managed by a competent person, and the catalogue of failings suggested a lack of regard for workers' health, safety, or welfare.
“Construction companies have a duty to ensure that their sites are operated in a safe way. Putting these matters right was neither expensive nor technically difficult.”
T Richard Jones (Betws) appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on 6 August and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £2000 and ordered to pay £3658 in costs.
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