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Workers at risk during warehouse renovation

17 October 2022

A 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 Health and Safety Executive (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.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Sharon Boyd said, “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.”