Infobite 259: Builder fined after ignoring height safety warning

A building firm has been fined after putting workers at risk during the refurbishment of a former warehouse building in London and for breaching a Prohibition Notice.

A property investment company, was using a site-made cradle during the renovation of the five-storey building on Bermondsey Street.

Cradles are temporary suspended work access platforms widely used in the industry which are commonly suspended from cables and raised and lowered into position by winches.

The Court heard that the company repeatedly put operatives at risk of falling from height, while unsafely refurbishing the front façade of the building.

Despite being served with a prohibition notice by the HSE the company continued the work.

An HSE investigation found that workers were at significant risk of falling from height by manually lifting the cradle from the open edge of the roof and working from height near unprotected openings and that the work was not appropriately supervised.

The company also obstructed justice by refusing to allow the HSE inspector access to the site.

The building firm pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £46,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,688.10.

Speaking after the hearing the HSE Inspector said: “Inspectors will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against dutyholders who fall below the required standards and put lives at risk.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. In 2021/22, falls from height accounted for 29 fatal injuries in the workplace.”

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