The compliance question for contractors

Anghel Milosavlevici, aged 37, was killed on 2 December 2010 while digging a basement extension on a £2m Victorian semi-detached house in Ellersby Street, Fulham.

During underpinning works, the excavations were not adequately supported. The ground floor collapsed and crushed Mr Milosavlevici. The emergency services were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Conrad Sidebottom, 46, the commercial director of Siday Construction Ltd of Park Road, Hertford, and Richard Golding, 43, a self-employed health and safety consultant, were found guilty of manslaughter at Southwark Court on Tuesday 2 December.

As Site Manager, Conrad Sidebottom was responsible for the management of the works on the site. The jury was told that he was aware of the dangerous state of excavations.

The true cost of inadequate compliance checks

This case raises a number of issues for contractors in particular on the issue of competence and competence checks. Under the CDM 2007 regulation 4 it is required to be undertaken by anyone who employs (generally the client).  This appears in many cases to be missed out with the adage 'we have used them before – no problems – so we’ll use them again’ being applied. Very often the competence check is only a first stage check i.e. Health and Safety but no second stage check i.e. specific to the work undertaken.

The client also has a duty to ensure health and safety is managed throughout the project (CDM 2007 regulation 9), this is often missed out or covered just by monthly reports, with no actual checking undertaken, relying solely on others to undertake this duty Competence guidance is well covered in appendices 4 and 5 of the current CDM 2007 regulations and specifically covers both Health and Safety and Construction competence, however many employers believe training equates to competence, thus method statements being written based on training guidance rather than actual practical experience and then no monitoring undertaken to ensure the work is carried out safely and in accordance with the written statement.

SafeContractor provides that first stage check, and we actively inform our clients of this and that they should undertake a further specific assessment of how work is undertaken, this is sadly not always done primarily due to associated costs both in time and money.

By partnering with SafeContractor the time and money saved by clients through the outsourcing of their health and safety prequalification process, can be applied to the onsite activity of their business and drive down the risk of accidents and incidents like the one described above.

Post date: 20 Jan 2015

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