Warning follows prosecution of Morgn Utilities and a manager for unsupported excavation in Liverpool

The Health and Safety Executive has warned construction firms of the need to protect employees working in trenches following a prosecution at Liverpool magistrates court.

Morgan Utilities and one of its managers, Gordon Holt, yesterday pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought by the HSE after two workers were found working in an unsupported excavation in Liverpool City Centre in October 2005. The two parties were fined a total of £11,000 and ordered to pay £9000 in costs.

HSE inspector Neil Jamieson, said: “There was a high risk of collapse and consequent injury given that spoil was stored immediately adjacent to the excavation sides, and an excavator was also operating in close proximity to the edge. The risks were further accentuated from vibration emanating from the nearby Liverpool Underground Railway System.”

Jamieson added that during the last five years the HSE had made two visits to sites where Morgan Utilities was carrying out excavation works, which caused concern as people were working in deep, unsupported excavations.