Building firm director in court over health risk

Published:  27 August, 2014

The director of Stockport-based building firm CSC Construction has been fined, after workers' health was put at risk for more than three months.

Roland Couzens, from Macclesfield, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after it emerged that bricklayers, plasterers and a roofer could have suffered skin burns or lead poisoning due to a lack of hot water available to wash off dust and contaminants.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard on 22 August 2014 that Mr Couzens had been overseeing a project to refurbish a row of Victorian terraced houses on Ashton Old Road in Openshaw between May and September 2013.

Mr Couzens admitted to visiting the site several times a week during the project and failing to provide a hot water supply until after the HSE inspection.

He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,102 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matt Greenly said: “There were around a dozen people working on the site every day, so it’s astonishing that they were without hot water for more than three months. Mr Couzens was brought in to oversee the project, including the health and safety of workers, but he failed to ensure this basic legal requirement was met.

“The houses were taken back to brick before being completely renovated so there were large amounts of dust, as well as the risk of workers suffering skin burns or lead poisoning from the components in the building materials.

“This case should act as a warning to companies and directors that we will not hesitate to prosecute if they do not act to ensure the health and safety of their employees.”