Cockermouth businesses receive safety support

Michael Hunt

Businesses in Cockermouth are still receiving help and support from health and safety advisers, nearly four months on from the floods which devastated the town.

More than 2,000 properties in Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick were damaged on 19 and 20 November last year when heavy rain led to widespread flooding.

Health & Safety Executive advisers were on Main Street in Cockermouth, where much of the damage was caused, from 7.30am on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

The seventeenth-century Trout Hotel was one of the buildings to suffer in the floods. Several original features were badly damaged and 15 bedrooms were destroyed.

Workington-based construction company Stobbarts is currently carrying out the refurbishment work.

Sue Eccles, manager at the hotel, said: "We've now been shut for four months and aren't expecting to be open again before the end of May. It would be nice to be open sooner but these things take time.

"It took until the middle of January before the building had dried out, and the workers have now reached the stage where they're replastering and sorting out the electrics.

"We have had trades people turning up on the doorstep offering to help out with the refurbishment work, but you never know what they'd be like. We're using a reputable local company to make sure it's finished properly and safely."

The safety event in Cockermouth has been organised as part of the 'working well together' initiative, a partnership between the Health & Safety Executive and the construction industry, which aims to improve health and safety in the sector.

It is being held during a month-long initiative to improve health and safety on construction sites across Britain. Two days of inspections are also taking place across Cumbria today and tomorrow.

Dave Charnock, a specialist construction inspector at the Health & Safety Executive in Cumbria, said: "Hundreds of workers are killed or seriously injured on construction sites every year. It's vital that the refurbishment work taking place in Cockermouth at the moment doesn't lead to more misery for local people.

"Business and home owners obviously want to see their properties return to normal as quickly as possible. But it's simply not worth trying to finish jobs quickly if it means lives are going to be put at risk.

"Our advisers were on hand to give advice and support to construction workers in Cockermouth. I hope it will lead to the refurbishment projects in the town being completed without injury as a result."

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