London and Essex Property Partnership Ltd, principal contractor Ludovic Calo and commercial client Richard Balls were involved in the construction of two semi-detached houses at Central Wall Road, Canvey Island. Basildon Crown Court heard how health and safety concerns were raised by members of the public and the HSE visited the site on five separate occasions between 26 July 2017 and 23 March 2018. It identified ongoing health and safety breaches relating to work at height, site welfare and security, as well as an accumulation of domestic and construction waste on site.

There were also reports that bricks had fallen from the scaffold, and the building’s gable end wall apex section had at one point collapsed onto the neighbouring property. Despite HSE serving a number of enforcement notices and notification of contravention letters, serious breaches of health and safety law continued and there was a failure to comply with the enforcement notices.

An investigation by HSE found the project’s joint clients, Richard Balls and London and Essex Property Partnership Ltd had failed to make suitable arrangements to manage the project. They did not ensure the principal contractor complied with his duties under the Construction Design and Management Regulations, and in Richard Ball’s case, did not comply with one HSE improvement notice issued to improve health and safety standards on the site. The project’s principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, failed to plan, manage, and monitor effectively to ensure the construction work was carried out safely, failed to ensure work at height was properly planned and carried out safely, failed to take suitable measures to prevent the fall of materials from the scaffold and did not comply with two HSE-issued improvement notices served to improve health and safety standards on the site.

Ludovic Calo of Kitchener Road, Walthamstow was found guilty of breaching Regulation 13(1) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015; Sections 4(1) and 10(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005; and two charges under Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He received a 29 week suspended custodial sentence, 3 months electronic curfew 9pm-6am and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Richard Balls, of Henham, Bishops Stortford was found guilty of breaching Sections 4(1) and 4(3) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He received a 29 week suspended custodial sentence, 3 months electronic curfew 9pm-6am and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd of Scratton Road, Stanford Le Hope were found guilty of breaching Sections 4(3) and 4(6)(b) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was  fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Glyn Davies said: “Property developers and construction firms should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who fall below the required standards, especially where advice and enforcement fails to improve their management of health and safety.

“Commercial clients and principal contractors have significant and wide-ranging duties to comply with construction health and safety law, and it is not acceptable to cut costs and maximise profit at the expense of putting people at risk.”

As reported by: SHPonline

Specialist plant hire company, Ruislip Plant Ltd, has been fined after a worker was fatally injured whilst undertaking maintenance on a piling rig.

Reading Crown Court heard that, on 13 May 2014, Ben Wylie, was assisting the Ruislip Plant Ltd Director Mr Noel Kearney (since deceased) with the maintenance of a high-pressure grease track adjusting mechanism at a construction site in West Street, Maidenhead. During the process, the grease nipple assembly and a stream of high-pressure grease was forcibly ejected from the mechanism and struck Ben Wylie in the shoulder and chest causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the components had been forcibly ejected on the previous day and had sustained damage in that event, reducing the pressure at which it would subsequently fail. Once the fitting had been ejected, it should not have been refitted. Despite the fittings having been previously ejected and damaged, Mr Kearney attempted to modify and refit the grease nipple and adaptor to the high-pressure system. He then began to re-pressurise the tracks by pumping in grease using a hand operated grease gun. The pressure built in the system and at a critical point the damaged and modified components were again ejected. A pressure test with all suitable safeguards was required in these circumstances but there was no safe system of work during which resulted in the modifications to the grease gun bringing Ben Wylie into the danger zone.

Ruislip Plant Ltd of Lea Crescent, Ruislip, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £99,000 and ordered to pay costs of £116, 973.36.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “HSE guidance is very specific on how this work should be undertaken and previously ejected or damaged parts must not be reused as they were in this case.
“This incident could have been avoided if Ruislip Plant Ltd had instead undertaken a risk assessment and devised a safe system of work. That safe system of work would necessarily have ensured that new parts were used, and that the safety procedure of a pressure test was performed. However, a new component was not used in this incident and the safety procedure was not adhered to.

“That failure to adhere to the correct procedure for pressure testing was directly causative of this incident. No control measures were put in place by Ruislip Plant Limited and that sadly led to the death of Ben Wylie.”

As reported on: HSE Media.

Walden Builders Ltd has been sentenced after a worker was struck by a heated sheet of tin.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how on 18 September 2018, the company was demolishing an outbuilding in Littlethorpe, Ripon. During the demolition, the excavator being used struck a wall containing a 415v cable causing it to arc and ignite a fire. Efforts to put out the fire included holding a sheet of tin to shield the surroundings. The tin heated and dropped onto an operative who was working on the site causing burn injuries to the scalp, arm and hands.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had received a quote from Northern Power Grid for installation of new service termination equipment. The company failed to act on the quote and instruct the power company to terminate supply to the building.

Walden Builders Ltd of Green Croft, Pottery Lane, Littlethorpe, Ripon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £42,000 and ordered to pay £4,707 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “The company should have ensured that there was no live power to the building prior to the start of demolition work. The company had failed to prepare a written plan for the demolition of the building or any site-specific risk assessments.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

The HSE publish a guide to undertaking such activities the right way here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/demolition.htm

A construction company has been sentenced after a self-employed ground worker sustained life changing injuries in an incident involving a disc cutter.

Truro Crown Court heard how on 1 June 2017, self-employed ground worker Morgan Prosser, contracted by MJL Contractors Limited, was working to complete ground works at a new building site near Bodmin, Cornwall. Mr Prosser was using a petrol disc cutter to cut reinforced concrete beams to size. Whilst he was doing this the saw ‘kicked up’ and caused a severe laceration to his arm. Mr Prosser underwent months of operations following the incident to try to save his arm. However, it had to be amputated In October 2017, which has had a significant impact on his ability to work and his personal life.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that MJL Contractors Limited were responsible for the groundworks at the site, including providing and maintaining the disc cutter. Mr Prosser had not been sufficiently trained to use the petrol disc cutter and the system of work in use for cutting reinforced concrete beams had not been planned or assessed to ensure the risks were properly controlled.

MJL should have been aware that Mr Prosser had no previous experience of undertaking such a task and this should have been identified and addressed at his induction or at the time the work was allocated to him to complete.

 

MJL Contractors Limited of Hellys Court, Helston in Cornwall, were found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They have been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Georgina Symons said: “The contractor’s injuries have been life changing. This serious incident could have easily been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”

The legislation that allows the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to impose a levy on the industry requires that it undertakes wide consultation every three years.  This is to confirm that the construction industry is happy to continue putting  money into a collective pot and whether there is still a consensus in support of the CITB.  In the old days, the CITB focus was in providing industry related training where as now it is responsible for administering the money.

An initial consultation on levy proposals will run from 1st  March – 11th April 2021 and once feedback on the draft levy proposals has been gathered, the official consensus exercise will take place from 14th June until Sunday 15th August.

The triennial consensus was due in 2020. The process started and questionnaires went out but then came lockdown and necessary follow-up interviews were cancelled. Instead, emergency powers were invoked and the secretary of state renewed the levy order regardless.

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said: “From your feedback we know now is the right time to proceed with running consensus. We’re looking forward to talking with businesses from across the sector to understand their views, and explaining how we’ll use their money to provide the training and the skills that the industry needs.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “We’ve been calling for consensus to go ahead for some time now and expressed our great dismay when it was postponed the first time. Now members will have the chance to hold CITB to account, examine their plans and proposals for levy in the future and have their say. The consensus process is an essential part of ensuring the industry has confidence in CITB’s ability to deliver the skills our industry so desperately needs. We welcome the confirmation that consensus will go ahead and will do all we can to ensure as many members engage in this process as possible.”

Levy registered employers can take part in the initial consultation from Monday 1st March to Sunday 11th April at www.citb.co.uk/levyconsultation.

Employers can register for virtual events at www.citb.co.uk/spring2021events.

For details of the consensus process itself, see: www.citb.co.uk/consensus2021.

As reported on: TheConstructionIndex.

A north west contractor has been sentenced after disturbing asbestos during demolition works and damaging underground cables that resulted in severe disruption to services.

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard how Peter Walling’s company had been contracted to demolish a former medical centre in Blackburn and clear the land ready for development. Between 15 November and 6 December 2018, four separate incidents occurred on site when an excavator operated by Mr Walling, caused damage to underground cables and a sub-station which caused loss of electricity supplies to the local area and repair costs to the electricity supplier of £49,000. In addition to this, Mr Walling removed asbestos containing materials prior to an asbestos survey taking place, potentially exposing workers to asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Walling did not ensure all services had been disconnected prior to starting work. He had ignored warnings from Electricity North West to stop work when low voltage cables were first dug up by the excavator, causing damage to the live substation, and only stopped working in a dangerous area when the police attended the scene. Mr Walling did not implement a safe system of work when operating near to underground cables and failed to ensure that workers on site were not exposed to asbestos.

Peter Andrew Walling of Arley Rise, Mellor, Blackburn pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and received a ten-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

HSE inspector Christine McGlynn said after the hearing: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Mr Walling recklessly failed to heed warnings and advice and put not only himself but also others on site at risk of electrocution and risk of exposure to asbestos containing materials.

“Contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

An article in the Guardian indicates that the 6500 figure is likely to be an underestimate, as preparations for 2022 world cup tournament continue.

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian can reveal.

The findings, compiled from government sources, mean an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian nations have died each week since the night in December 2010 when the streets of Doha were filled with ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory.

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka revealed there were 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the period 2011–2020. Separately, data from Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020.

The total death toll is significantly higher, as these figures do not include deaths from a number of countries which send large numbers of workers to Qatar, including the Philippines and Kenya. Deaths that occurred in the final months of 2020 are also not included.

In the past 10 years, Qatar has embarked on an unprecedented building programme, largely in preparation for the football tournament in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of major projects have been completed or are under way, including a new airport, roads, public transport systems, hotels and a new city, which will host the World Cup final.

While death records are not categorised by occupation or place of work, it is likely many workers who have died were employed on these World Cup infrastructure projects, says Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights in the Gulf. “A very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup,” he said.

As reported in the Guardian.

Property partnership Alex Brewster and Sons has been fined £4,000 after an employee fell through a roof light.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how on 19 April 2016, two employees were removing roofing panels from a derelict shed in Midlothian. One of the workers stepped on to a roof light, which gave way causing him to fall to the floor below. He sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall including fractures to his pelvis, ribs, and elbow, which required surgery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Alex Brewster and Sons, who own and let domestic properties, failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe. There were insufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a fall from height.

Alex Brewster and Sons, of Bonnington Store, Wilkieston, Kirknewton pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 4 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £4,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gillian Anderson said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the severe injuries sustained by this employee could have been prevented.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced the appointment of a Chief Inspector of Buildings to establish and lead the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

Peter Baker, HSE’s current Director of Building Safety and Construction, will take up the post with immediate effect.

The government asked HSE to establish a new building safety regulator in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster and following recommendations in the ‘Building a Safer Future’ report by Dame Judith Hackitt.

In his role as the Chief Inspector of Buildings, Peter Baker will head up the Building Safety Regulator to deliver the new regime for high risk buildings, oversee work to increase competence of all professionals working on buildings and ensure effective oversight of the entire building safety environment.  Peter will also be the first head of the building control profession, and lead the work to provide independent, expert advice to industry, government, landlords and residents on building safety.

Peter said: “I am honoured to be appointed as the first Chief Inspector of Buildings and for the opportunity to play a lead role in bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation. I look forward to working with government, industry, partner regulators and residents to shape and deliver a world-class risk-based regulatory system for the safety and standards of buildings that residents can have confidence in and that we can all be proud of.”

Peter has over 30 years’ experience with HSE as an Inspector and in a number of senior operational posts dealing with a wide range of industry sectors, including the role of HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction. Since 2017 Peter has led HSE’s involvement in the Government’s Building Safety Programme.

Sarah Newton, HSE’s Chair said: “I would like to congratulate Peter on his appointment as the new Chief Inspector of Buildings. Peter has a long track record of working in partnership with industry and other regulators to bring about behavioural and culture change that improves people’s safety.  His deep understanding of assessing and managing hazards and risk makes him ideally suited to shape and lead the implementation of the new building safety regime” 

Dame Judith Hackitt, Independent adviser to Government on Building Safety and Chair of the Transition Board said: “I am delighted to hear of Peter Baker’s appointment as the new Chief inspector of Buildings. With his impressive background experience in regulating both Major hazards Industries and Construction he brings a wealth of experience to this important new role. I very much look forward to working with Peter as the new Building Safety Regulator is established as we move to establish a new regime where people can be confident that their homes are safe and fit for purpose”

Minister for Building Safety, Lord Greenhalgh said:  “I  welcome the appointment of Peter Baker as the first national Chief  Inspector of Buildings. Peter will use his and HSE’s wealth of experience to implement a tougher regulatory regime.  I look forward to working with Peter and his team to ramp up engagement with residents and the sector as part of the biggest changes to building safety in a generation, backed by our £5 billion investment to fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres (6 storeys) and over in England. We have a comprehensive plan to remove unsafe cladding, support leaseholders, restore confidence to this part of the housing market and ensure this situation never arises again.”