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January 6, 2022

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Construction company fined after HSE uncovers multiple safety breaches

A construction company working on the site of a former Tobacco Warehouse, has been fined after an unanticipated HSE inspection found poor welfare standards, dangerous electrical systems and insufficient health and safety provisions on site.

Concerns had been raised regarding the health and safety standards at the construction site of the former Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock, Liverpool, which was in the process of being renovated by Abercorn Construction Limited.

The HSE found the welfare cabin used by employees to be in poor condition, containing exposed live wires and damaged electrical sockets, a mouldy dishwasher and rubbish both inside and outside the cabin with the potential to attract vermin.

The inspection of the site found a number of risks, including inadequate fire alarms, a lack of fire extinguishers, a damaged cable on a 400v transformer, a lack of signage indicating emergency routes, and multiple examples of unprotected edges and openings exposing workers to risk of a fall from height. There was also insufficient pedestrian and vehicle segregation, poor order, poor lighting, and the risk of exposure to live electrical conductors.

The HSE investigation found the company had failed to effectively plan, manage, and monitor the works which had resulted in these health and safety issues arising on site. These risks had already been highlighted to the company in previous written enforcement. Despite compliance being achieved, poor standards had been allowed to develop again.

Abercorn Construction Limited of Belfast pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £77,000, plus costs of £2,025.52.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Padfield commented: “This type of proactive prosecution will highlight to the industry that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies for repeated breaches of the law.

“Good management of health and safety on site is crucial to the successful delivery of a construction project and principal contractors have an important role in managing the risks of construction work and providing strong leadership to ensure standards are understood and followed”.

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