Builders risked safety of workers and public

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TWO building companies put the safety of their workers and the public at risk while building an extension to the Royal Yacht Hotel at the Weighbridge.

Jersey firm Deerglen and German-based Heitkamp Bauunternehmung were told by the Royal Court that they faced fines of more than £50,000 between them after admitting breaking the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 between 5 December 2005 and 4 June 2007. On Friday the court took the unusual step of turning down the recommended fine of £50,000 and adjourned the case so that the Crown could come up with a more substantial figure to reflect the seriousness of the case and the wealth of the companies involved.

Crown Advocate Sally Sharpe said that the companies had a ‘cavalier, bordering on reckless’ attitude towards managing health and safety. Despite Health and Safety advice and enforcement notices she said there had been a catalogue of unsafe work practices, including nine instances of dangerous working at height.

Defence advocates Beverley Lacey, representing Frank Hein from Heitkamp, and Philip Livingstone, representing Deerglen director Louis Parr, said that the Royal Yacht Ltd had employed the sub-contractors. Parr and Hein accepted overall responsibility for the site but their advocates said that the ‘project might have gotten away’ from them and they found it difficult to control some of the sub-contractors.

They said that both companies had carried out staff training in English or Polish and that both companies were first offenders. Advocate Sharpe called for a fine of £50,000 but Commissioner Julian-Clyde Smith and Jurats Bullen and Clapham felt that a bigger fine was necessary. They adjourned the case until 23 January so the court could obtain financial information on both firms.

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