T Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd was operating a site at St Michael’s Church, Manselton, Swansea on 10 August 2011 when Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited as part of a routine inspection.
Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard that on arrival, HSE’s inspectors were informed that the site manager was on holiday. Construction sites need a site manager to ensure that risks to health and safety are adequately controlled.
Washing facilities were found to be inadequate and workers were found not to be wearing protective glasses or gloves, which was of particular concern as lime mortar was being used. Use of lime mortar creates a serious risk to health and can lead to the loss of sight, skin burns or dermatitis.
In addition there were two employees working at height without measures in place to prevent injury caused by a fall.
A subsequent investigation by the HSE concluded the company had failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees.
T Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd of Foundry Road, Ammanford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,658.
HSE inspector Phil Nicolle said:
“This company put the safety of its own workforce at risk by failing to ensure the site was managed by a competent person, and the catalogue of failings suggested a lack of regard for workers’ health, safety or welfare.
“Construction companies have a duty to ensure that their sites are operated in a safe way. Putting these matters right was neither expensive nor technically difficult.
“Construction is the country’s biggest industry, but it is also one of the most dangerous. Over the last five years, on average, 61 people have died every year from injuries they receive as a result of construction work, and many more have been injured.”