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Written by
on 08 March 2013


Excavation Work

A construction firm have been fined after a Health and Safety Executive investigation found serious safety problems in relation to some excavation work that was being carried out in Rochester. The investigation was a result of concerns being placed by the council and Southern Water who witnessed an unsupported excavation that was approximately three meters deep.

After the concerns were raised the company had attempted to improve the safety. They had placed two pieces of plywood and one strut in place but these attempts were still lacking. That is when the HSE stepped in and prosecuted the firm, Basi Construction, for putting lives at risk by leaving the excavation walls unsupported which meant they could collapse at any time.

Despite the Hole Being Filled there was Enough Evidence to Prosecute

The company attended Chatham Magistrates Court on 19th February 2013. The court heard that the excavation was required so a new home could be connected to the sewer system. Southern Water noticed the dangerous working conditions when they sent an agent to check the connection.  Medway Council also paid a visit to the excavation after they received some complaints about the pathway located just outside of the site. The worker from the council called the HSE to report the dangerous excavation and informed the inspectors that they had witnessed a worker climbing out unsafely. The construction firms had also left items at the bottom of the excavation. When the HSE inspectors arrived the hole had been filled in, but there was plenty of evidence provided by the Council and Southern Water and therefore the firm was prosecuted.

Breaching the CDM Regulations Resulted in £8,000 Fine

Basi Construction was fined £8,000 and must pay £8,797 in costs after they breached the CDM Regulations. In addition to failing to ensure the excavation walls were safe the firm had not provided the workers with adequate welfare facilities – there wasn’t a suitable mess space and the chemical toilet had no hot water.

Health and Safety Consultants will help you to ensure that your site is suitable and the work you carry out is safe. You need to be aware of the consequences of any action that is taken and consider what could happen should anything fail – such as walls collapsing in an excavation. There are excellent and affordable construction health and safety services available such as:

  • Writing up Safe systems of work and method statements
  • Producing a construction phase plan
  • Hiring a competent person
  • Site safety inspections
  • Complete health and safety packages and more

Call us on 0800 1488 677 to learn more about how you can avoid legal problems for failing to comply with health and safety legislation.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.