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Specialist Piling Contractor is fined £16,000 for Safety Breaches

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has fined a specialist piling contractor, Southern Piling Limited, after finding that it had been operating a large rig without the required safety guard in place.

In December 2014, HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe witnessed the piling rig being operated without a safety guard whilst inspecting a site in Maidstone, Kent. HSE was also told that this particular machine had been in use without the safety guard for over two weeks at the point of inspection.

Previously, HSE had inspected and raised concerns about guarding concerns at three separate sites where work was being carried out by the same firm – Southern Piling Limited.

Southern Piling Limited, of the Pagets, Lewes, East Sussex pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of PUWER 1998 and Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay almost £5,000 in costs.

Inspector Mr Stancliffe said after the hearing:

“There was simply no excuse for the way the machine was being used. It was in the middle of the site and there was nothing to prevent the guard from being fitted.

“I dread to think, even at low speed, what might have happened had someone inadvertently fallen on to the unguarded auger. This is incredibly powerful machinery, capable of causing life-changing or even fatal injuries.”

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Source: Health & Safety Executive

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