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Housebuilder fined £75k for widespread safety failings

A Stockport housebuilder has been fined £75,000 after widespread safety failings at two sites were found to be putting employees’ health at risk.

Sherwood Homes was fined after Health and Safety Executive inspections found workers on two of its sites were exposed to risks including falls from height, electrocution, inhalation of silica dust and being struck by construction plant.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard that Sherwood had appointed several principal contractors to build numerous domestic properties at the two sites in Preston and Tarpoley.

The HSE inspections of these sites was followed by enforcement action against Sherwood and its main contractors.

A subsequent HSE investigation into Sherwood Homes found the company failed to make suitable arrangements for managing projects, including insufficient welfare facilities at its Tarpoley site and failure to notify the HSE in writing that construction work would begin on both sites.  

Further enquiries established that, since 2014, nine inspections of four Sherwood Homes sites had resulted in 16 enforcement notices and nine notifications of contraventions for various health and safety breaches.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “Clients cannot delegate their health and safety responsibilities.

“The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 places clear duties on clients making them accountable for the impact their decisions and approach have on the health, safety and welfare of their project.

“In general terms, the client must ensure the project is carried out in a way that adequately controls the risk to health and safety of those who may be affected by it.

“To achieve this, they must engage others (such as designers and principal contractors) that have the necessary skills, knowledge, training and organisational capabilities to fulfil their responsibilities under CDM and deliver the project safely on behalf of the client.

“If the client fails to do this, HSE will consider taking enforcement action against them.”

Sherwood Homes Ltd of Houldsworth Street, Stockport, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 6 (2), Regulation 6(3) and two breaches of Regulation 4 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company was fined £76,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,651.64.

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