The sharp eyes of an HSE inspector who twice spotted unsafe working at height at the same site from the window of a train has led to a builder and developer being made to pay £17,200 in costs.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the inspector first spotted men working on the roof of a three-storey building in Raynes Park, south west London, without any measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall, in August last year.
He got off the station to take a closer look, and immediately served a prohibition notice to stop work at the site on Coombes Lane.
But two months later he noticed the same thing happening, and again got off at the next station to have a closer look, this time serving two prohibition notices.
The court heard that Putney-based Peter Ross was the part owner of the site which was being turned from shops into a mixed use development, and was also principal contractor and construction manager for the project.
He was fined £16,000 and made to pay £1,200 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
HSE inspector Mike Gibb said: “Peter Ross was the client for the project and appointed himself as the principal contractor. As such the onus was on him to ensure effective safe working methods and procedures were in place. The work at height activity we witnessed was inherently unsafe, and the fact we twice had to stop work at the site just weeks apart is shocking.”