Information Bite 198 Construction firm prosecuted due to inadequate Welfare Facilities on site

A construction company has been prosecuted after failing to ensure that suitable welfare facilities were provided for workers on site.

A Magistrates’ Court heard that the construction company had been issued with multiple Section 21 Improvement Notices, following an inspection by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector at the company’s site in Stockport, on 7th July 2018.

The construction company subsequently complied with the Improvement Notices that had been served for fire safety and respiratory risks, but failed to comply with the minimum standards of health, safety and welfare on site.

An investigation by the HSE found that welfare facilities on site had been in a poor condition, in particular there being no hot or warm running water, and that the company did not provide evidence of compliance with the Improvement Notice within the required deadline.

The same construction company was previously subject to enforcement action by the HSE in 2017. On that occasion, this included an Improvement Notice in relation to the absence of adequate welfare provisions at a different site.

The construction company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 13(4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The construction company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,814.90.

Regulation 13(4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 states (amongst other provisions) that: “The principal contractor must ensure that……facilities that comply with the requirements of Schedule 2 are provided throughout the construction phase.” Schedule 2 specifies the minimum welfare facilities that are required for construction sites.

A HSE inspector stated after the hearing that: “Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

“Furthermore, companies that fail to comply with an Improvement Notice in the time allowed can expect to be prosecuted since this is a criminal offence in its own right regardless of the circumstances under which the original Improvement Notice was served.”