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FORMWORK COLLAPSE CAUSED BY LACK OF CRITICAL CHECKS

Principal contractor prosecuted over unsafe climbing formwork incident

Chalcroft Ltd has been ordered to pay over £47,000 in fines and prosecution costs after two workmen fell 8m from formwork. The men were engaged in building a concrete core at a new factory building on the premises of GlaxoSmithKline in Coleford, Forest of Dean in August 2009.

The worked involved a “large piece of climbing formwork” used to set the concrete in place. An anchor point holding a section of form work where the men were standing came out of alignment before the concrete was poured and an unsuitable bolt was used to remedy the problem.

However, the bolt was unable to withstand the weight of the concrete and it failed. The platform tipped sending the men falling to the ground causing serious fractures and other injuries.

No formal procedures to make safety-critical checks

Chalcroft Ltd, of Pershore, Worcestershire, admitted breaching Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Reg 22 (1)(a) and was fined £14,000 with £23,236 in prosecution costs.

Sue Adsett, the HSE inspector who investigated the incident said:

“Work at height is inherently dangerous and if not managed properly can result in serious injury or even death.

It is vital all work is properly planned and checked in order to prevent or reduce the impact of falls. Safety-critical parts of temporary work equipment should be checked before use.

This incident occurred because neither of these things was done. Crucially, Chalcroft Ltd had no formal procedures in place to make safety-critical checks.

These checks would have revealed that the working platform was not secure, and this failing has caused serious injury to two men.”

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