Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Safety breach causes construction worker to freeze to death

Regulatory / 18 November 2021

The recent case of Northstone and security firm Corporate Services Management is a timely reminder for security, construction and other businesses where staff work outside in all weathers.   Both admitted breaching health and safety rules. 

In January 2018, Ronnie Alexander died after being “exposed to extreme weather conditions” for several hours at the Afton wind farm construction site near New Cumnock in East Ayrshire.  Northstone and Corporate Services Management admitted that they failed to provide a reliable source of heating at the site.

The companies appeared before Ayr Sheriff Court. Northstone admitted to failing to ensure a safe system of work at a wind farm site.  They failed to provide a reliable source of heating. The generator at the main compound regularly broke down, and there was no backup. There was also no backup for a generator at the guardhouse.

They also admitted to failing to provide an adequate communication system so that their staff could contact the emergency services if there were any difficulties. There was also no official plan to evacuate workers in case of an emergency.

Corporate Management Services admitted to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of two employees during 1 October 2016 and 22 January 2018.

It is imperative that companies ensure that their health and safety protocols include reliable sources of heating, as well as toilets, drinking water supplies and other facilities to allow workers to shelter, eat and change their clothing etc.

If you need any help with best practices, please contact Kathryn Gilbertson, who can help.

 

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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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