Altrincham firm fined for imposing 'Dickensian style' working conditions (From Messenger Newspapers)
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Altrincham firm fined for imposing 'Dickensian style' working conditions
A BROADHEATH-based construction firm was fined £5,000 after it allowed subcontractors to carry out refurbishment work on a Grade 2 listed building for nearly seven weeks without toilets or running water.
RNT Developments and Construction Ltd, based on Sheldrake Road, was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 on October 16.
The company had brought in roofers, damp treatment experts, electricians, joiners and plasters to work on the nineteenth century Harris Institute, in Preston, but it failed to provide basic facilities for workers.
Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) made an announced visit to the site, on Avenham Lane, on February 19 this year.
Subcontractors working for RNT had already filled six skips with rotten timbers and floor boards since work had begun on January 3.
Workers had to use wet wipes and paper towels to clean themselves, and leave the site to find toilets elsewhere in the city.
HSE Inspector, Stuart Kitchingman, said: “It would have been easy for RNT to reinstate the existing welfare facilities in the building, but instead the firm allowed work to be carried out in grimy and dusty conditions for nearly seven weeks without access to the most basic facilities.
“It’s totally unacceptable in the twenty-first century to find Dickensian-like conditions. In fact, it’s a legal requirement that workers aren’t treated in this way.
"The working conditions were archaic – more like they would have been when the building was first erected in Victorian times – and will no longer be tolerated in the 21st Century.
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