SAFETY OFFENCES in the UK have been highlighted this week in the Health & Safety Executive's first ever 'roll of shame' of convictions.
Construction incidents feature prominently in the HSE's Enforcement Report, which it says is being published to hold companies to account and create pressure to improve standards.
Of the 2,253 court actions by the HSE, construction accounted for 796, higher than any other industry. Convictions in construction numbered 537 of the 1,602 secured.
But average fines for construction averaged only £4,132.
Omitting the largest, this falls to just £3,378.
Seven of the top ten civil contractors feature in the list. Subsidiaries of Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Kvaerner, Nuttall, Mowlem, Amec and Alfred McAlpine appear, although some resulted in fines of under £10,000.
The largest single fine for a construction accident was £200,000 imposed on contractor Keltbray for the death of two workers who fell eight floors during a demolition job in London in January 1998.
Of the top ten consultants, only Hyder appears. The consultant was fined £3,000 for failing to take reasonable precautions to safeguard a contractor's employees on the Nash Treatment works site in Newport, where a worker lost part of a leg in a sewage screen.
Leading clients also feature, with London Underground fined £300,000 and Railtrack £150,000.
The HSE also expressed 'dismay' that the Swedish firms convicted for their role in the Ramsgate walkway collapse failed to pay £1.2M in fines and costs.