A property developer has been prosecuted after a routine inspection by the HSE identified a number safety failings at a construction site in Essex.
HSE inspector David King visited the site in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey on 10 February 2011, as part of a targeted programme of construction site inspections.
Stefano Di Piazza was redeveloping two shops to create nine apartments and four shops. On arrival at the site, inspector King saw contractors working on scaffolding, which had sections lacking in edge protection.
There were also no measures in place to prevent workers from falling through window openings on the second floor of the building. The HSE issued a Prohibition Notice to Di Piazza, ordering work to stop until adequate edge protection was put in place.
Di Piazza had failed to appoint a CDM coordinator for the project and didn’t notify HSE about the work. The inspector also identified multiple slip and trip hazards at the site.
Di Piazza appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 7 August and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(1), reg.9(1), reg.14(1), and reg.21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management Regulations) 2007. He was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £5741 in costs.
In mitigation, he said he had no previous experience of developing properties and was not aware of the CDM requirements. He added that he had no previous safety convictions.
After the hearing, inspector King said: “Developers have a big influence on how work is done safely and they have legal duties as the construction client. They have to appoint the right people, provide information to the team, and make sure there are suitable management arrangements and a health and safety plan in place.
“Mr Di Piazza blatantly disregarded the importance of a safe working site, leaving the workers at Sun Street in serious and unnecessary danger.”
In June, the principal contractor for the project, Isidor Cata, trading as Doru Construction, pleaded guilty to breaching reg.6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and section 33(1)(g) of the HSWA 1974 for breaching a Prohibition Notice. He was fined £2000, plus £1500 in costs.
Inspector King told SHP that a Prohibition Notice was issued to Cata. During a follow-up inspection, also on 10 February 2011, the inspector found work at height was continuing and no measures had been taken to comply with the notice.
The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!
The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.
Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!