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Tip-off leads to developer’s £200k fine for CDM breaches

The owner of a block of flats has been handed a £200,000 fine after allowing work on an unsafe site to restart, even though enforcement notices had been served by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

Tip-off leads to developer’s £200k fine for CDM breaches
Demolition was carried out by hand with workers climbing on to the unguarded roof. Image: HSE
Tip-off leads to developer’s £200k fine for CDM breaches
Workers were at risk of falling up to 4 m through holes in the roof. Image credit: HSE

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told on 30 August that a member of the public had raised concerns about conditions at the building site in Mitcham, south London and alerted the HSE. 

Inspectors had first visited Pitcairn Road in October 2016 and found that Selliah Sivaneswaran, owner of the property, had failed to appoint a principal contractor for the development, which involved the demolition of old flats and the construction of four one-bedroom flats and two-bedroom flats.

The HSE had halted the demolition because workers were being exposed to a range of risks, including exposure to asbestos, falls from height, and fire. Inspectors had served enforcement notices and provided advice.

They revisited the site on 4 January 2017 after the tip off from a member of the public and discovered that the work had restarted, even though the site was still unsafe. 

The demolition continued to be carried out by hand with workers climbing onto the unguarded roof and throwing debris down. Workers were at risk of falling up to 4 m through holes in the floor and the partly demolished staircase. Sivaneswaran had also failed to provide welfare facilities and there was a significant fire risk with workers not being able to escape. 

The court was told that two days before the sentencing hearing, the HSE had to return to the site and take further action.

Sivaneswaran had paid cash in hand to untrained workers, did not engage a site manager and provided none of the legally-required site documentation. 

Selliah Sivguru Sivaneswaran, of Harlyn Drive, Pinner, pleaded guilty to breaching reg 13(1) and 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £1,421 in costs.

 

 

Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton is acting editor of IOSH Magazine. He is a former editor of SHP and has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

Comments

  • Am I surprised at how this

    Permalink Submitted by John Bartlett on 1 September 2017 - 02:52 pm

    Am I surprised at how this site was run, sadly not as I see sites like this on weekly basis. This is where the risk is not the big players who try very hard to get it right. Why oh why can't the HSE target such sites, if I can find them they surely could???

    reply
  • I agree , the small sites are

    Permalink Submitted by John smith on 4 September 2017 - 10:54 am

    I agree , the small sites are the biggest risk yet the big sites get the inspections !

    reply

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