Boss fined over water
ABUILDING firm director has been fined after workers’ safety was put at risk for more than three months, a court heard.
Roland Couzens, 67, of Sugar Lane in Rushton Spencer, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found bricklayers, plasterers and a roofer were not provided with hot water to wash off dust and contaminants.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard on August 22 that Couzens, a director at Stockport-based CSC Construction Ltd, had been overseeing a project to refurbish a row of Victorian terraced houses on Ashton Old Road in Openshaw between May and September 2013. The company, which has since gone into administration, had been stripping the houses bare before plastering them and fitting them with new kitchens and bathrooms.
HSE carried out an inspection and found that one of the vacant properties was being used for the site office, and to provide welfare facilities for the workers.
However, there was no hot or warm water supply in either the kitchen or bathroom. Prosecutors argued bricklayers and plasterers had nowhere to clean off cement and plaster, which can cause burns, while a roofer working with lead could have suffered lead poisoning from residues on his skin.
Couzens admitted to visiting the site several times a week during the project but failing to provide a hot water supply until after the HSE inspection, despite the need for hot water being highlighted in the company’s construction plan.
Couzens was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,102 in court costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
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.
“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.”
●● Terraced houses on Ashton Old Road in Openshaw