A developer has been sent to prison for 30 months after repeatedly breaching prohibition notices put in place to ensure the safety of workers involved in redeveloping a former office block in Essex.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited the site in Parkeston on 28 February 2013 following complaints from residents worried about debris falling from upper storeys and concerned about the safety of workers who had no protection from falling while working at height.
Eze Kinsley, who was found to be in control of workers at the site, verbally abused the inspector, who had to return with Essex police officers later to serve prohibition notices requiring an immediate stop to unsafe work. Mr Kinsley then physically assaulted the inspector.
After further reports that work had not stopped, the HSE issued another prohibition notice on 3 April 2013, which was breached within an hour of being served.
HSE’s investigation found that there were no safety measures in place to prevent workers being injured from debris falling from height and that there was a real risk of injury to people using the road and pavement next to the Parkeston House site.
Mr Kinsley, of Edgware, Middlesex, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on 18 July. He was given a 30-month prison sentence after being found guilty of two breaches of section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. That sentence was to be served concurrently with three further 12-month prison sentences after being found guilty of three counts of contravening a prohibition notice contrary to section 33(1)(g) of the same Act. Mr Kinsley, who was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000, was found guilty of assaulting an HSE inspector at a separate court appearance.
HSE inspector Jonathan Elven said: “The working conditions on this site were truly appalling with absolutely no provision for workers’ safety. The repeated breaching of prohibition notices – without any attempts to put right the reasons why work had been stopped – put workers and the general public at serious risk”.
“Mr Kinsley refused to accept that he had a responsibility to make sure people who worked for him, and any member of the public living or working near his site, were not subjected to unnecessary risks – and vigorously and violently resisted all attempts to make him take actions to protect them”.
“Putting safe working practices in place is often simple and inexpensive and, where this doesn’t happen, the costs, both financial and personal, can be immense”.
For more information on how Palmers can assist employers with health and safety compliance issues, including general workplace risk assessments, please contact Lara Murray or if you are facing investigation or prosecution on a health and safety matter, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.