The owner and developer of a construction site in Raynes Park, South London has appeared in court after a safety inspector twice spotted dangerous work at height from the carriage of a passing train.
A closer inspection of the site confirmed work was taking place on and around the roof of a three-storey building without any measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall.
The principal contractor was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the principal contractor and construction manager for the work.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the contractor part-owned the site and was overseeing a project to replace former shops with a new-build mixed use complex.
A HSE inspector first spotted unsafe work on 19 August 2013 as he passed by on a train. He headed straight for the site after getting off at the next station, and immediately served a Prohibition Notice to prevent any further work at height until adequate safety measures were put in place.
However, the same inspector making the same train journey witnessed near identical activity less than two months later. He again got off the train and visited site before issuing two further notices.
The court was told that although nobody was injured at the site, the fall risk was significant. As the designated principal contractor and person in control of the work, it was the contractor’s responsibility to ensure sufficient safety measures were in place.
The contractor was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay a further £1,200 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.