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October 27, 2008

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Firm fined for poor site security and safety

A Lancashire building firm’s arrangements for preventing members of the public from accessing a construction site and for segregating vehicles from pedestrians were so bad, the HSE decided to prosecute it.

Chelford Properties, of Chorley, was fined a total of £6000 over the conditions at a residential building site in Blackpool in February 2007. HSE inspector Alasdair Green, who prosecuted the case at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on 1 October, told SHP the HSE investigated the site following a report from the Police about children playing on it. It found the fence on one of the boundaries to be dilapidated. “Anyone could walk straight onto the site, and that was not good enough,” he said. Inspectors also found there was no traffic management system on the site to segregate pedestrians and vehicles.

Improvement Notices were served, but because Chelford had failed to heed previous warnings, from both the HSE and from its own safety experts, about areas where it needed to improve, it was decided to prosecute.

Chelford was fined £3000 each for breaches of reg.16(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 by failing to ensure that only authorised people were allowed on to its construction site, and of reg.15 of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 by failing to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles. It was ordered to pay full costs of £4534.

The firm said in mitigation that its managing director had delegated affairs too much and had not been aware of what was going on. He is now taking a much more hands-on approach to the business. It added that it had attempted to repair the fence at the time of the offence and has since put a full solid hoarding around the site.

Inspector Green commented: “Putting these matters right was neither expensive nor technically difficult. This company must take safety issues seriously.”

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