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  West Cornwall builder fined for neglecting welfare of workers

West Cornwall builder fined for neglecting welfare of workers

29 April 2013 Email this article

A builder in West Cornwall has been prosecuted for neglecting the welfare of his workers by failing to provide adequate washing facilities or rest areas at a site in Carbis Bay.

Bodmin Magistrates’ Court heard last month that when an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the site he found there was no hot or cold running water, or even a basin to wash in. There was also no supply of suitable drinking water, just a hose running from a neighbouring property into a plastic container.

The inspector also found that an area for resting, drying clothes or eating was inadequate. There was a small portable office with room for three chairs, but there were eight workmen on site and there was no electricity supply connected to the office.

An Improvement Notice had been served requiring better conditions, but a follow-up HSE inspection revealed nothing had changed, leaving the HSE with no choice but to prosecute.

David Lawrance, a partner for Swiftfix Reinforcement Specialists, who managed the site, pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £2,141.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Barry Trudgian, said:"The need to provide running water to wash hands and arms is not a trivial matter on a building site.

"The workmen were pouring concrete and when splashed on the skin this can lead to dermatitis if it is not washed off. Apart from being an unpleasant condition, in some cases it can lead to the loss of use of fingers and hands.

"Site contractors and supervisors like David Lawrance, who are responsible for the work of employees or subcontractors, have a legal duty to ensure that adequate facilities are in place for the welfare of the workforce from the very start to the completion of construction work."