London firm fined for unsafe refurbishment work

London property firm FN Property Ltd have been fined £10,000 for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was found in March this year that work carried out by the company at a property on Newton Avenue, Acton between July 2013 and January 2014 had been undertaken in dangerous and illegal conditions.

Firstly, none of the workforce employed on the site had any kind of Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance, which is an essential requirement for employers before any work can be carried out on a site, particularly one with so many potential hazards. It perhaps came as little surprise then that the provision for health and safety on site was particularly lacking.

The site was inspected early on in the project, based on employee complaints regarding site safety. It was found that a basement excavation had no props or temporary works to provide vital support to the building and construction area. But the problems extended further as the renovations moved to the other floors.

Twice the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served Prohibition Notices to the company regarding the lack of provision for falls from height on the site, leading to Westminster Crown Court ruling in favour of the HSE and fining the Shepherd’s Bush property company.

As Peter Collingwood, the HSE Inspector said after the hearing: “Every employer should ensure that workers have the basic right to work in a safe environment. FN Property Ltd fell some way short in this regard.”

The HSE has for a long tome protected the interests of employees, but there are also invaluable ways in which a workforce can be informed and trained. Having a certified workforce and being able to assess and carry out work with proper safety standards.

Training is a simple and effective may to ensure that a job can be performed safely and efficiently. The level of training required includes certification to ensure that levels of expertise and safety are paramount, but also helps to protect the employer against any potential pitfalls. This makes it a perfect way to protect all parts of a business, and there are many ways of ensuring that safety and best practice is used whilst at work.

Courses for everything from manual lifting to operating heavy machinery or working in hazardous environments are available to ensure that access to all of current standards are available to a workforce. PASMA certification for instance which provides training for working at height and the IPAF training, which certify working and operating moving platforms. The courses provide not only better levels of safety and expertise, but they also help to maintain the standards set by government, as well as peace of mind for employer and employee alike.

Injuries on construction sites are still most commonly sustained through falls from height and the number of those where the fall could have been avoided are too high. Legislation exists to prosecute negligence, but proper training and safety are what prevent negligence.