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Construction firm fined for dangerous site

The Stoneforce Ltd site in Northumberland StreetA construction firm has been fined for exposing workers to risks of falling from height and other safety failings at a site in Newcastle city centre.

Stoneforce Limited, of Hertfordshire, was the main contractor hired to carry out work on the refurbishment of a new retail store in Northumberland Street, which started in September 2011 and lasted for several months.

On 12 February, Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited the site on 14 September 2011 and advised Stoneforce Ltd. of its legal obligations when managing the site.

A number of complaints about the site were received by HSE in late February 2012, including allegations of risks relating to falls from height and concerns about poor housekeeping and a lack of welfare facilities. These prompted a further inspection on 21 February 2012.

Several safety failings were found, one so serious that a Prohibition Notice was served relating to a risk of falls from height from the edge of the roof.

The Stoneforce Ltd site in Northumberland StreetA number of Improvement Notices were also served the following day relating to a lack of suitable and sufficient welfare facilities and for failing to keep the site in good order.

HSE brought the prosecution as a result of the numerous failings identified at the site and the fact that some had previously been brought to the company's attention.

Stoneforce Ltd., of Hardy House, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, was fined a total of £10,000 (£2,000 for each offence) after it pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; and three breaches within the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was also ordered to pay £5,195.70 costs.


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