Infobite 255: Site boss fined for locking out safety inspectors

A man who was in control of a construction site in Scotland has been fined for not allowing two HSE inspectors access to the site to deal with unsafe work.

In 2021 multiple concerns about unsafe work at a construction site in Irvine had been reported to the HSE and on March 16 two inspectors attended the site and observed dangerous work at height taking place on a steel structure.

The inspectors tried to gain entry to the site, but the gates were locked. They spoke to the person in control of the site, but he refused to unlock the gates and let them in.

Despite explaining the powers to enter a premises given to HSE inspectors were still refused entry to the site.

After officers from Police Scotland attended and gained entry to the site, the HSE inspectors were able to take enforcement action to stop the unsafe work.

Two workers were then found to be on the roof of the structure with no safe means of getting down. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the site and rescued the workers from the structure.

The site controller pleaded guilty to a safety offence and was fined £1,500.

Following the sentencing, the HSE Principal Inspector  said: “Inspectors appointed by an enforcing authority have the right to enter any premises which they think it necessary to enter for the purposes of enforcing health and safety at work and any relevant statutory provisions.

“They may only enter at a ‘reasonable time’, unless they think there is a situation which may be dangerous. In this case, the priority of the inspectors was to deal with the unsafe work activity, and they could not allow the person in control of the site to refuse them entry to stop the unsafe work.”

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