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Contractor fined for letting Polish workers sleep on 'fire risk' site

A Hull contractor has been fined £1,000 for allowing an area of a construction site to be used as sleeping accommodation for migrant Polish workers.

The Health and Safety Executive said the decision to allow five workers to sleep at the site had been particularly dangerous because of a serious fire risk in the premises.

Asaad Al-Helu, of Newland Avenue, Hull, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act yesterday at Hull Magistrates Court.

He was fined £1,000, and ordered to pay costs of £1,149 plus a victims’ surcharge of £15.

The court heard the premises contained a large amount of flammable material such as wood and rubbish, and also many sources of ignition, including an unsafe electrical system, heaters and workers smoking and drinking on site.

The HSE said there was no means of escape or of raising the alarm in the event of a fire.

Health and safety inspector John Rowe said: “These five construction workers were allowed to sleep on the site at night, which exposed them to fatal injuries in the foreseeable event of a fire. One carelessly discarded cigarette could have had serious and possibly fatal consequences, not only for them but also for local residents.

“Generally, standards of work and preparation on the site fell far short of the industry norm. The risks were foreseeable and straightforward to avoid.”

The court heard Asaad Al-Helu had also failed to prepare a construction plan before the start of construction work.