The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Thursday, 21 November

Firm Fined for Facilities Failings - Refurb with No Water or Toilets

Altrincham based RNT Developments and Construction Ltd found itself in court after it brought in roofers, damp treatment experts, electricians, joiners and plasters to work on the nineteenth century Harris Institute – a former dance academy – on the outskirts of the city but it failed to provide basic facilities for workers.

The issue was spotted during an inspection initiative earlier this year when inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive made announced visits to construction sites across the region.

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that refurbishment work had started on the Avenham Lane building on 3 January 2013, but HSE were not alerted to the absence of amenities until an inspector visited the site on 19 February.

During this time, a dry rot treatment subcontractor had filled six skips with plaster from the walls, with other contractors removing rotten timbers and floor boards in dusty conditions.

Workers had to use wet wipes and paper towels to clean themselves, and leave the site to find toilets elsewhere in the city.

Magistrates were told that the three-storey building had been empty for two years before the work started and the water supply had been turned off, which meant the existing toilets could not be used. The temperature inside the building was also bitterly cold.

RNT Developments and Construction Ltd, of Sheldrake Road in Broadheath, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 on 16 October 2013.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Kitchingman said: “It would have been easy for RNT to reinstate the existing welfare facilities in the building, but instead the firm allowed work to be carried out in grimy and dusty conditions for nearly seven weeks without access to the most basic facilities.

 

“It’s totally unacceptable in the twenty-first century to find Dickensian-like conditions. In fact, it’s a legal requirement that workers aren’t treated in this way.

“The working conditions were archaic – more like they would have been when the building was first erected in Victorian times – and will no longer be tolerated in the 21st Century.

“RNT should have made sure there were welfare facilities on the site before it allowed the refurbishment project to start. Instead, workers had to face needlessly unpleasant conditions over several weeks.”

The inspection of the RNT site was carried out during a month-long national initiative earlier this year in which one in five construction sites were served with enforcement notices after failing health and safety checks.

HSE inspectors made unannounced visits to 2,363 sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place. They issued notices at 433 sites, either ordering work to stop or for improvements to be made.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

Jail Time for Two Construction Killers

A construction manager has been jailed for gross negligence manslaughter, after a workman was crushed to death on a building site. Andrew Winterton, 52, was in charge...

 Read Full Article
Jail Time for Cost Cutting Killers. Whitbread in Hot Water Apology

Three company directors were jailed on May 19 following the death of a man who fell while working at a warehouse in Essex. Nikolai Valkov, 63, died in hospital after...

 Read Full Article
Safety Fines Reflect Size of Guilty Firms

A construction company has been fined £3/4 million for asbestos failings; another for a falling load crush; another for a trench collapse; and another for an...

 Read Full Article
Crick Institute Brings Death to London

Construction contractor CMF Ltd has been fined after a 31-year-old sub-contractor, Richard Laco, died when working on a large and prestigious construction project in...

 Read Full Article
Man Paralysed by Falling Pipes

An Essex company specialising in gas infrastructure have been fined after an employee suffered a serious injury when a pipe fell into the trench he was working in and...

 Read Full Article
Crushing Fine for Airport Death

A construction firm has been sentenced following the death of Philip Griffiths at Heathrow Airport in October 2014. Southwark Crown Court heard that Philip’s...

 Read Full Article
Falling Frames Kill Lawyer - Men Convicted

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a woman walking past a construction site died when three window frames weighing more than half a ton...

 Read Full Article
One Dead, One Injured in Lift Car Plunge Tragedy

A company and a self employed contractor have been fined for safety failings after one man died and another was left seriously injured falling six storeys through a lift...

 Read Full Article
Falls and Walls Cost Constructors

Construction company Kier Construction Limited has been fined £400,000 after a worker fell from height. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Jair...

 Read Full Article
All in All Just Another Brick in The Wall?

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools has been published. It was commissioned by Chief Executive Andrew Kerr last summer after...

 Read Full Article