Last updated: 19.01.12

Health and safety breaches 'will be prosecuted with no hesitation'

Construction companies may like to look to online learning platforms for health and safety training to prevent accidents such as one in Hertfordshire that led to a significant prosecution.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined a company based in Hatfield and its secretary after workers were put at risk while refurbishing office space.

Premises of Haz International in Great North Road, Hatfield were found to have a serious lack of consideration for health and safety regulation when it received a routine inspection by the HSE in September 2009.

Watford Magistrates Court heard that the firm failed to implement safety precautions for the maintenance staff carrying out work to the building, in particular for those working at height.

It was concluded that Haz International provided substantially poor working conditions for the constructors and failed to comply with many sections of HSE legislation.

Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

Furthermore, HSE inspector John Berezansky said: "Construction, in particular working at height, is a high risk activity with significant numbers of major and fatal injuries. Implementing appropriate standards with good planning, communication and cooperation is an absolute must."

He added that although the company in question had received a previous Prohibition Notice and advice from the HSE to improve its working practices, it failed to heed it.

The government body will not hesitate in prosecuting poor performance that could compromise the safety of others, Mr Berezansky commented.

HSE also prosecuted a plastics firm based in Corby, East Midlands earlier this week after a member of staff severed his finger in ill-protected machinery.