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Breach of prohibition notice

Posted on 13th October, 2022

The breach of prohibition notice issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has resulted in the prosecution of a property investment company.  The building firm has been fined after putting workers working at height at risk during the refurbishment of a former warehouse building in London and for breaching a Prohibition Notice.

Shiva Ltd, a property investment company, were using a site-made cradle during the renovation of the five-story building on Bermondsey Street in the south-east of the capital.

Cradles are temporary suspended work access platforms widely used in the construction industry, which are commonly suspended from cables and raised and lowered into position by winches.

However, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on and before 26 February 2019, the company put operatives at risk of falling from height while unsafely refurbishing the front façade of the building.

Despite being served with a prohibition notice by the HSE the company continued the work the following day.

An investigation by the HSE found that workers were at significant risk of falling from height by manually lifting the cradle from the open edge of the roof and working from height near unprotected openings; and that the work was not appropriately supervised.  The company also obstructed justice by refusing to allow the HSE inspector access to the site.

As such, Shiva Ltd failed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of those carrying out the work.

On 10 October Shiva Ltd of Lincoln Tower, Westminster Bridge Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and breaching the Prohibition Notice. They were fined £46,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,688.10.

Breach of prohibition notice
HSE inspectors have powers to enter business premises

“Inspectors will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against dutyholders who fall below the required standards and put lives at risk.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. In 2021/22, falls from height accounted for 29 fatal injuries in the workplace.”

HSE Inspector Sharon Boyd

Prohibition notice and powers of entry

Health and safety laws applying to all businesses and are enforced by HSE inspectors or by officers from the local authority.  An inspector’s role is to:

  • investigate (when accidents have happened or a complaint is made) whether people are at risk, to find out if something has gone wrong
  • require employers and others to take action to control risks properly where they are not already complying with the law
  • take appropriate enforcement action in relation to any non-compliance, ranging from advice on stopping dangerous work activities to potentially taking prosecutions where people are put at serious risk
  • provide advice and guidance to help employers and other dutyholders comply with the law and avoid injuries and ill health at work

Inspectors have the right of entry to business premises at any reasonable time as well as the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, and exercise powers to help them fulfil their role.

The HSE operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme. If an employer or dutyholder is breaking health and safety laws, the HSE may recover its costs by charging a fee for the time and effort it spends on helping the company or organisation put the matter right, such as investigating and taking enforcement action.

If an HSE inspector visits your premises and you want to confirm their identity, you should ask to see their identification – all inspectors carry identification, and you can ask to see this.

Inspectors and local authority officers prioritise the highest risks and those businesses which fail to manage health and safety properly.

If you require health and safety advice for your business, please contact one of the Jacksons team.

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