Contractor fined for site where people worked barefoot

Barefoot with no PPE onsite in Manchester

A man in charge of a site where people worked barefoot with no PPE has been given a suspended prison sentence for health & safety infringements.

Photo: HSE

Mustapha Matib has been given a suspended prison sentence, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £5,673 for supervising unsafe excavation work at a site in Denton, Greater Manchester, where people were working barefoot without any kind of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The work put the people on-site in danger and rendered a neighbouring property unstable, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard on 21 March.

The court heard how, between 2019 and 2020, Mustapha Matib had employed several groundworkers to excavate land at Gibraltar Lane, Denton, in preparation for the construction of a family home.

An inspection was carried out at the site in August 2020 after neighbours raised significant concerns. Work was stopped when serious fall risks and potential collapse of excavations were identified.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that, as principal contractor, Mustapha Matib had failed to prepare a construction phase plan, with risk assessments and method statements detailing how the work would be safely carried out, had failed to appoint a site manager with suitable skills, knowledge and experience to plan, manage and monitor the work, and had failed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of those carrying out the work or others who may have been affected by their actions.

Inspectors also said a large, deep and unprotected excavation gave rise to the foreseeable risk of a fall. The excavations were not shored up or in any other way suitably battered back to prevent the sides collapsing.

Personal protective equipment had not been provided and some workers were working barefoot on site.

The site had not even been adequately secured to prevent unauthorised persons from entering.

A neighbouring property had been undermined, leaving parts of it at risk of collapse as a result of the excavations.

Mustapha Matib of Allerton Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work (etc) Act 1974. He was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months along with being ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £5,673.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Phil Redman said: “Inspectors will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against duty-holders who fall below the required standards and put lives at risk.”