The prosecution came after a photograph caught the moment a pair of workmen stood in the bucket of a telehandler to fit a stone into the top of a new home in Littleborough, Greater Manchester.
It was one of a number of health and safety failings found during construction work at The Villas development on Starring Road in Littleborough.
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited the housing development on 7th July 2021 and issued Hoyle Developments Limited, the site’s principal contractor, with a prohibition notice for inadequate scaffolding and improvement notices for a lack of welfare facilities and insecure fencing.
HSE inspectors had visited the same housing development site four times between November 2018 and August 2021. Repeated breaches were found including a lack of sufficient welfare, unsuitable controls for work at height and inadequate protection from silica dust exposure. Hoyle Developments was served with multiple notifications of contraventions, prohibition notices and improvement notices.
The HSE described the image as showing ‘a digger’. From the photo published it looks more like a telehandler, which makes it not less of an offence but it is a least a machine designed for lifting, rather than digging.
Hoyle Developments Limited, of Edenfield Road, Rochdale pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,165.15 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 25th January 2023.
HSE inspector Mike Lisle said: “This proactive prosecution demonstrates that HSE will not hesitate to take proactive enforcement action against those that continuously fall below the required standards and demonstrate persistent poor health and safety. Health and safety should be an integral part of any business, not an afterthought, and having a clear health and safety policy and construction phase plan in place, before work commences, can assist with ensuring this.”