A Leicester building firm narrowly missed facing possible no win, no fee claims from workers and members of the public after putting lives at risk by unsafely demolishing a city centre factory and causing it to be at risk of collapse.
Leicester Magistrates' court heard that structural supports had been removed from the building but had not been temporarily replaced and workers had been found working at height without suitable personal protective equipment to prevent their falling.
When these circumstances were found by a Health and Safety Executive inspector, the site was immediately closed and the building company was served with a prohibition notice to prevent further work at the site until an adequate demolition plan could be put in place and supervised by a competent member of staff.
HSE inspector Stephen Farthing said, "[The firm] showed a horrendous disregard for health and safety which was not only putting workers at risk, but also passing members of the public going about their daily lives. There was a real danger of this building collapsing.
"The site supervisor had no training in health and safety, no method statements or risk assessments had been carried out before the work started and there were no welfare facilities for workers.
"To run a construction company in this manner is wholly unacceptable and this prosecution shows that HSE will clamp down on small construction companies failing to adhere to basic health and safety regulations."
If a member of the public or the firm's workforce had suffered personal injury as a result of the building work, it is likely they would have been able to make a successful no win, no fee claim for damages through the civil courts.
Published on 2011-01-19 22:11:00
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