Contractor promises to introduce changes after inspectors take firm to court over safety lapses at London site.
Contractor Wates this week promised to improve safety practices after it was fined £4000 over lapses at a site in south London.

The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive as part of a blitz on sites in the capital. Eight other construction companies were also due to appear in court at the City of London to face charges of breaching safety regulations.

Major contractor Kier London, one of the firms, had pleaded guilty, along with subcontractor Prendy Scaffolding, to breaching legislation over safety barriers.

Wates and a subcontractor, demolition firm McKenna Demolition, pleaded guilty to safety breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act when they appeared before magistrates.

Wates was fined £4000 and McKenna Demolition £1250. Both firms were ordered to pay court costs of £438.

Wates and McKenna Demolition were working on a sports ground redevelopment in Beckenham when HSE inspectors visited on 23 April. They found that workers did not have adequate safety harnessess and that adequate barriers to prevent falls were not in place.

Safety measures will now be dealt with by head office

Wates’ solicitor

Wates said in mitigation that measures were being introduced on sites to prevent such lapses occurring again.

The lawyer for Wates said safety method statements on high-risk sites would now be referred to the health and safety team at head office rather than being dealt with by the project manager at the site.

She added: “Wates did have an experienced project manager on the site in question, but we are now considering placing an additional site manager on high-risk sites to deal with additional health and safety concerns.”

As Building went to press, prosecutions against the other firms were being heard. Kier London and subcontractor Prendy Scaffolding were charged after HSE inspectors visited a site in Berkeley Street in central London.

Scaffolding firm EJ Roberts denied charges brought after an inspection of a site in Clapham, south London. The case was adjourned. Mitie Property Services, the contractor on the same site, was fined £500 after it pleaded guilty to charges.

In the dock: the other firms

  • Prendy Scaffolding pleaded guilty – sentence pending.
  • Kier London pleaded guilty – sentence pending.
  • EJ Roberts pleaded not guilty – case adjourned
  • Mitie Property Services pleaded guilty – sentence pending
  • Tru Construction — case pending
  • Charles R McInnes – case pending
  • St George Scaffolding — case pending
  • HG Construction – case pending