• Robert Spicer

Manchester care home dangerous excavation: public report to HSE: work stopped

Unsafe care home excavations: £2000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Brierstone Ltd (2015) Trafford magistrates’ court, November 13

Brierstone Ltd, a building contractor, has been fined following unsafe excavations at a care home site placed workers and members of the public at risk.

Significant points of the case

  • In September 2014 an HSE inspector visited a care home site in Manchester following a concern raised by a member of the public.

  • The investigation found two large unsupported excavations which were more than four metres deep. The inspector served a prohibition notice preventing work being carried out within five metres of the excavations.

  • The company had failed to take steps to ensure that the excavations were adequately supported or battered back to prevent collapse and possible injury.

The company was fined £2000 plus £1100 costs for a breach of regulation 3, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that before starting groundworks, contractors must ensure that the risks associated with the creation of excavations have been properly assessed, that a temporary works engineer has been appointed to design a suitable means of supporting any excavations, and that the controls identified are implemented in order to prevent collapse.

Putting workers’ lives at risk would not be tolerated and the HSE would take action even where there was no injury.

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