Two housebuilders have been prosecuted for what the Health and Safety Executive described as “appalling standards on site”.
The HSE visited a site in Wimbeldon run by Bellway Developments and Kubik Homes on several occasions.
They found access to the first floor that comprised of a staircase made from a bag of sand and piles of blocks, a 2.5 metre-deep hole with no barriers to prevent anyone from falling in and nothing preventing the sides from collapsing on anyone working on the excavation.
Kubik Homes had already been served with four prohibition notices – one of which was breached whilst safety inspectors were actually on site.
Both Bellway Developments Ltd and Kubik Homes pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc at Work Act and were fined £8000 each plus costs.
Loraine Charles, HSE inspector, said: “Although there was no incident, the potential danger to the workers was very high. Conditions on this site were simply appalling. This is a shocking example of bad management of a construction site and it is a miracle that no one was injured.
“Both these companies failed to understand the nature of their duties under health and safety law and failed to sufficiently improve conditions on the site despite repeated interventions by the HSE. We will not hesitate to prosecute companies that behave in this way.”