Contractor in court for putting workers lives at risk with poor site safety

A Manchester building contractor has been fined after unsafe excavations at a care home site put workers and members of the public at risk.

Brierstone Limited was issued with an immediate Prohibition Potice (PN) by an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stopping work being carried out within five meters of the excavations.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that a visit had been made to the site adjacent to 3 Barke Street, Littleborough on the 9 September 2014 following a concern raised by a member of the public regarding unsupported excavations.

The HSE investigation found two large unsupported excavations on either side of the site. One adjacent to the car park of a public house and another next to domestic premises. Operatives were seen working in the direct vicinity of the unsupported faces, which were in excess of four metres deep. Small piles of debris at the bottom of the excavations suggested there had already been some movement.

Brierstone Ltd had failed to take steps to ensure that the excavations were adequately supported or battered back in order to prevent collapse and possible injury to the site workers.

Brierstone Ltd of Sterling house, Middleton Road, Chadderton, Manchester was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,190.97 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “Before starting groundworks, contractors must ensure that the risks associated with the creation of excavations have been properly assessed, that a temporary works engineer has been appointed to design a suitable means of supporting any excavations, and the controls identified are implemented in order to prevent collapse.

“Putting workers lives at risk will not be tolerated and HSE will take action even where there is no injury.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement 
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at
  4. More information about construction safety can be found at:    

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