A construction company has been fined after HSE inspectors found 'appalling' conditions on a Liverpool construction site.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Retro Future 2000 following a visit to a construction site on Kings Dock during April 2010, which revealed major safety concerns.
The inspection of the six-story apartment blocks found that several areas of the site had no barriers to stop workers falling and being seriously injured or killed.
They included an open lift shaft, a staircase landing between the fourth and fifth floors with no walls or rails, and an empty floor-to-ceiling window frame on the sixth floor with a rubbish chute attached (pictured).
The HSE investigation concluded that a worker could easily have fallen out of the window frame while emptying rubbish into the chute, if they had tripped on the plank of wood next to it.
Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard that HSE also issued four enforcement notices following a previous visit to the site in October 2009. These included a prohibition notice relating to falls from height, stopping work taking place until improvements had been made.
Retro Future 2000 was found guilty of breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take measures to prevent workers being injured in a fall. The Manchester-based company was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,981.
Kevin Jones, the investigating inspector at HSE, said: "This is one of the worst cases I have ever dealt with and Retro Future is extremely lucky that no-one was seriously injured. The company was managing a major construction project in Liverpool city centre, but the conditions on the site were appalling.
"There were several instances where Retro Future had failed to do anything to prevent falls, and put lives in danger as a result. We issued four enforcement notices, and offered written advice on managing the risks from falls, following a previous visit.
"Sadly, despite initially making improvements, the company appears to have fallen back into old habits within a few weeks."
In 2008/9, there were 35 deaths and more than 4,000 major injuries caused by falls from height. Information on how to prevent falls is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls.