Contractor and architects fined over breaches on care home extension

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A building contractor and a firm of architects have been fined a total of £170,000 for serious health and safety breaches on a care home extension.

In early 2016, a concern was raised about the lack of health and safety controls at a large timber frame extension being built on to Manor Lodge Residential Home in Exmouth.

In March 2016, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited the site and found numerous health and safety breaches, Exeter Magistrates’ Court was told.

Among them were uncontrolled high-risk activities that put workers at risk of death, serious injuries or ill health. The risks included falls from height, fire, slips and trips and poorly controlled wood dust.

The inspection revealed a total disregard for health and safety and site management. In particular, the risk of fire spread associated with the construction of a timber frame extension adjoining an existing building.

Eighty  physically and/or mentally impaired residents of the home were put at risk of injury or death due to the possibility of fire spreading into the home. The HSE found that the work was not properly planned, appropriately supervised or safely carried out.

The principal contractor Coast & Country Construction Limited (formerly Make a Loft a Home) had a duty to control how the work was carried out and to ensure it would be completed safely.

The timber frame extension work was designed by Paul Humphries Architects Ltd who failed to perform their duties as the principal designer and failed to consider the risk of fire spread to the vulnerable residents.

Coast & Country Construction Limited of Concord Road, Exmouth was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,039.

Paul Humphries Architects Ltd of Salterton Road, Exmouth admitted two breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regs 2015 and were fined £20,000 with costs of £6,039.

HSE inspector Nicole Buchanan said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fail to control workplace risks appropriately.”

Experienced trainers at EP Risk Consultancy run a CDM 2015 course at our centre in Huddersfield.

The regulations govern the way construction projects of all sizes and types are planned. Their aim is to improve the overall health, safety and welfare of those working in construction. Please contact us to see how we can help your company to be CDM 2015 compliant.