Unsafe working practice leads to company fine
Despite several warnings, a Croydon-based construction company has been fined due to its unsafe working practice at a Lewisham site. Following two visits to a construction site on Honor Oak Road, Forest Hill in 2009, Anza Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive - upon the discovery of some serious safety issues.
The firm had previously been advised by the HSE and served a Prohibition Notice about managing work at height safety and the risk of falls on 18 May 2009. Later that month, on 27 May 2009, the company was also given an Improvement Notice, stating that welfare facilities be provided on-site.
The HSE inspectors visited the site again on 1st July 2009 and confirmed that there were not enough measures taken to prevent falls – where contractors were using stairs to access the lower level of the site. This led to a second Prohibition Notice being served for fall prevention.
The HSE investigation concluded that the advice given to Anza Ltd regarding its duty of care to site workers had also been ignored and they had not fulfilled the requirements of the Improvement Notice, served on the 27 May 2009.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Abosede Ogunsekan said:
"This company had ignored previous warnings and enforcement notices from HSE, and continued to neglect their duty of care to their workers.
"Falls from height are the greatest cause of major injury and fatalities in the construction industry; and if companies do not take steps to prevent these, then HSE will be robust in its response.
"Even though there were no injuries in this instance, serious safety breaches were continued by this construction company which could have resulted in serious injuries".
Anza Ltd, of Wydehurst Road, Croydon, was found guilty in absentia of single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for its failings - three breaches in total. The company, now in liquidation, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,752.
Further information and advice from HSE about working in the construction industry and working at height can be found in our health and safety library