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MAJOR CLIENT FACES CDM SENTENCING AFTER GUILTY PLEA

Client, contractors and architects prosecuted following failed lifting operation

Portsmouth firm BAE Systems has been committed to sentencing in the crown court after pleading guilty to H&S offences following an incident which seriously injured a workman who was struck by a falling wall.

The man has been unable to return to full-time work since the accident and he remains in a wheelchair.

Manual handling operation went badly wrong

Magistrates heard that contractors were engaged to carry out building work in the Broad Oak facility in Hilsea, nr Portsmouth. The work involved construction of a heavy-duty wall on the floor. The wall fell as a team of men tried to lift the wall manually.

Anne Bartlett, prosecuting for HSE, said:

“On August 20, 2008, a decision was made to try lifting the wall using seven people. In getting it waist height it was realised it was too heavy and a decision was made to re-set it back to the floor.

They tried to lower it back to the floor, and in doing so the bent knees of Mr Cox were crushed under the wall, causing serious injuries to his ankles and feet.’

CDM Coordinator not appointed early

The court heard that BAE Systems Properties Ltd failed to appoint a CDM co-ordinator at the very start of the project. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching the CDM 2007 Regulations.

BS Interiors (South) Ltd admitted breaches of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and principal contractor, Emcor Facilities Services Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the CDM 2007 Regulations.

Chartered architects Angus Neil and Simon Painter, Edgington Spink and Hyne, based in Berkshire pleaded not guilty to CDM 2007 charges.

Comment

This is an interesting prosecution involving client, principal contractor, contractor and designer thereby highlighting the responsibilities of all parties involved in construction projects. Prosecution of the client for failure to appointment the CDM coordinator at the right time is of particular note.

The client must appoint a CDM-C as early as possible and no later than after initial design work is completed. ‘Initial design work’ includes feasibility studies and any work necessary to identify the client requirements or possible constraints on the development.

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