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Luxury property developer fined for putting lives at risk

02-04-2012

A Cheshire property developer has been sentenced after putting the lives of its workers at risk, by allowing them to work in an unsupported excavation.

A Cheshire property developer has been sentenced after putting the lives of its workers at risk, by allowing them to work in an unsupported excavation.

Huntsmere Projects Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an unannounced inspection of work on a new luxury five bedroom mansion on Trafford Road in Alderley Edge on 19 August 2010.

The HSE inspectors issued an immediate Prohibition Notice, ordering two workers to leave the excavation for the foundations, which were approximately 20 metres wide and over 5 metres deep, until the site had been made safe.

Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court was told the workers were put at risk of being buried, trapped, crushed or struck by rock if part of the excavation collapsed. Well established health and safety measures had not been implemented, despite the company having received previous guidance from HSE and its own advisers.

Structural support was not provided to the sides of the excavation pit, which were partly made of soft, sandy clay, and the sides had not been sufficiently battered back to a safe angle.

A large heap of soil had also been placed close to the edge of the pit and excavator track marks showed a digger had been driven along the rim of the excavation, increasing the risk of it collapsing.

The court heard no barriers or fencing had been erected to keep vehicles away from the edge, or prevent workers being injured in a fall.

Huntsmere Projects Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to prevent workers being put in danger.

The company, of Elizabeth Street in Macclesfield, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,837 in prosecution costs.

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