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Strood firm fined over dangerous excavation work

Excavation at the site

A Strood building company has been fined £8,000 after a court heard that unsafe excavation work on one of its sites could have killed someone.

Basi Construction, based on Medway City Estate, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to properly plan the excavation and endangering workers by leaving unsupported side walls that were liable to collapse.

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Melvyn Stancliffe described it as “pure good luck” that the nine-foot deep hole did not cave in.

He said: “Had it done so anyone working at the bottom would have more than likely been killed before they could be rescued.

“Sidewalls may look solid, but an unsupported wall will always collapse, and you need to work on the basis that it could give way in the next few seconds, not tomorrow or next week.”

The firm, which was founded in Medway in 2000 and has offices in Sir Thomas Longley Road, was also ordered to pay £8,797 costs.

Medway magistrates were told on yesterday that although there was no fall in and no injuries had been incurred, workers could have been killed had the soft clay side walls given away at the development on Britannia Road, High Halstow.

The court heard that Basi Construction had been contracted to connect a new-build home to an existing sewer.

Concerns were initially raised by Southern Water and Medway Council that the hole was unsupported.

An employee from the highways department of Medway Council visited in response to complaints about work on the footpath outside the site. He alerted the HSE after seeing somebody climbing from the hole leaving his tools and equipment at the bottom.

When the HSE inspector arrived it had been filled but the witness evidence proved damning enough to take legal action.

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