Rochdale builder fined £1,400

A builder whose employees were forced to work in unsanitary conditions, with no toilet or washing facilities, in Rochdale has appeared in court.

Forty six year old Michael Connolly was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after he repeatedly ignored calls to improve conditions at the site in Littleborough where he had employed contractors to convert a house into flats and shops.

Littleborough site in RochdaleHSE inspectors who visited the site in Church Street found that there were no toilets or washing facilities. They also discovered live wires sticking out of plug sockets, unsafe scaffolding and plaster and rubble scattered all over the site.

Inspectors deemed the site to be so dangerous that Connolly was immediately served with three improvement notices and two prohibition notices following the visit on 4 November 2009.

Despite Connolly's assurances that he had complied with all the notices, when inspectors revisited the site on several occasions over a ten week period, they discovered he had still not provided adequate washing facilities for workers, including soap and hot running water.

Alan Pojur, HSE inspector, said: "In failing to provide basic amenities like hot water, especially when workers would have been covered in building site dust and plaster, Mr Connolly showed a complete lack of regard for the welfare of the people he employed.

"Mr Connolly was given every opportunity to correct this problem over three months, but he chose not to do so. I hope his subsequent prosecution sends out a strong message to other employers."

Connolly, of Simonstone Lane in Burnley, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Regulation 22(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by not providing suitable and sufficient washing facilities, and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to comply with an improvement notice. He was fined £400 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Meanwhile, the owners of a new karaoke bar in Manchester city centre have been prosecuted for ignoring a string of fire safety procedures during construction.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive at the site of the K2 nightclub on George Street found large quantities of cardboard and other packaging discarded throughout the site.

Music Box Karaoke and site manager Marc Royle appeared at Trafford Magistrates' Court to admit breaching three health and safety regulations each.

When HSE inspectors visited the K2 site on 28 January 2009, they found potentially flammable materials piled high to the ceiling in the basement, escape routes were not marked and in some cases were blocked entirely.

The court heard the HSE inspectors were shocked at the scene that confronted them and, had a fire been ignited at the site, the risk to life would have been extremely serious.

The building's fire alarm had been switched off and the fire extinguishers found on site had not been tested for seven years. HSE immediately issued two prohibition notices closing the site down until significant improvements were made.

It took a total of 14 large skips and several people more than two days, working through the night, to clear the waste materials.

Music Box Karaoke of Greengate Industrial Estate, Greenside Way, Middleton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 14(1), 16(a) and 21(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £6,000 with costs of £3,313.

Marc Royle, 37, of Lambton Road, Worsley, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 38(a), 39(1) and 41(1) and was fined £450 with costs of £2,710.

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