Recently, untrained workers were left by a rogue developer to demolish a building by hand. This left them exposed to several hazards including asbestos, fire, and risks of falling from a height.
Following concerns raised by a member of the public back in October 2016, a Health and Safety Executive investigation was carried out on the site in Mitcham. It was found that workers were at extreme risk from several different factors including falling from heights, one of the biggest killers for those working in the construction industry. Read more about this here.
Consequently, work was halted at the Mitcham site. However, in January 2017, it was found that work had restarted. And, despite multiple enforcement notices being issued, demolition on the site was being carried out by hand.
Workers were also found to be throwing debris down to the ground and climbing on an unsafe and unguarded roof. Alongside this, workers were also left at risk of falling through the partly demolished stairs and holes in the floor too. This could have resulted in serious falls for workers of up to four meters!
Not only that, but there was a significant risk of fire too, with workers having no means of escape if a fire began.
Consequently, the Health and Safety Executive had to return to the site to take further action. It was heard in court that site owner Selliah Sivaneswaran put profit before safety. It was found that untrained workers were paid in cash to complete the work and did not provide any of the site documentations that are required legally.
Sivaneswaran was found guilty of breaching regulations and was ordered to pay £1,421.20 in costs. Alongside this, he was also fined £200,000.
HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers stated: “Mr. Sivaneswaran was a commercial client as he was carrying out work as part of a business.”
“When he failed to appoint a principal contractor, their duties fell on him.”
“Thanks to a member of the public reporting the dangerous conditions HSE was able to take action.”
“It was just good fortune that no one had been killed at the site.”
“Instead of taking the support and advice provided by HSE, Mr. Sivaneswaran continued to let the workers operate in appalling conditions where they were at risk of being killed.”
“He did not even provide them with a WC or washing facilities.”
So what do you think, of this? Let us know in the comments below.