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Health, Safety, Ethical & Environmental

15 June 2011

Don’t ignore risks

A Coventry construction firm has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after repeatedly breaching health and safety regulations.

Coventry Magistrates heard that an inspection carried out at Coventry Construction Ltd’s Torrington Avenue premises, where an incident 10 years ago resulted in a worker breaking every finger of one hand while operating a faulty radial arm drill, found a number of issues.

The unannounced HSE inspection in 2009 identified inadequate guarding of drills and guillotines, poor control measures when spraying and storing flammable paint, causing potential fire and explosion risks, and inadequate storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders.

At a hearing on 31 March, the court heard that the company had retained the services of health & safety consultants who had written to them on six separate occasions highlighting various issues, but the concerns were not addressed.

Coventry Construction pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £6,000 with £8,000 costs.

Think about asbestos

A construction firm and their sub-contractors have been fined £50,000 each at the Old Bailey for exposing employees and members of the public to asbestos dust.

Mansell Construction Services Ltd of Croydon and sub-contractors Woodlands Plant Hire Ltd of Ickleton, South Cambridgeshire, committed the offences while working in an occupied London Borough of Hackney block of flats. Asbestos insulation board was disturbed and removed by unlicensed contractors Woodlands Plant Hire Ltd, potentially releasing the deadly substance into the air.

A survey identifying the presence of asbestos insulation board in a number of the properties had been provided to Mansell, but had not been acted upon or passed to Woodlands Plant Hire Ltd.

As well as the fines, the companies were ordered to pay joint costs of £20,690.

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