HSE says Rochdale builder showed ’complete lack of regard’ for welfare of staff

A builder has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after forcing employees to work in unsanitary conditions, with no toilet or washing facilities.

Michael Connolly, 46, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs after he repeatedly ignored calls to improve conditions at the site in Littleborough, Rochdale, where he had employed contractors to convert a house into flats and shops.

HSE inspectors who visited the site in Church Street found that there were no toilets or washing facilities.

They also discovered live wires sticking out of plug sockets, unsafe scaffolding and plaster and rubble scattered all over the site.

Inspectors deemed the site to be so dangerous that Connolly was immediately served with three improvement notices and two prohibition notices following the visit on 4 November 2009.

Despite Connolly’s assurances that he had complied with all the notices, when inspectors revisited the site on several occasions over a 10-week period, they discovered he had still not provided adequate washing facilities for workers, including soap and hot running water.

Connolly showed a “complete lack of regard” for the welfare of his employees, according to HSE Inspector Alan Pojur.

“In failing to provide basic amenities like hot water, especially when workers would have been covered in building site dust and plaster, Connolly showed a complete lack of regard for the welfare of the people he employed,” he said.

“Connolly was given every opportunity to correct this problem over three months, but he chose not to do so. I hope his subsequent prosecution sends out a strong message to other employers.”