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SITE MANAGERS IGNORED LEGITIMATE WORKER CONCERNS

Untrained workmen instructed to erect tower scaffold despite client intervention  

Green Acre Homes (South East) Ltd has been prosecuted after a workman fell 8m from a scaffold tower. The company failed to listen to concerns raised by injured man who was instructed to build the tower on a south London building site in November 2009.

Construction of the tower was almost complete when a “strong gust of wind” sent the tower crashing to the ground. The workman’s injuries included fractured ribs and breastbone, compressed vertebrae and a head wound.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard (13 June) that prior to the incident the workman and a colleague were required to erect the tower scaffold in an area that did not provide a stable base until a project client representative ordered the tower to be taken down as it was unsafe to use.

The court heard that the injured man was subsequently instructed to erect the tower in a second location where there was a “space problem” and he and his co-worker again raised concerns with managers about safety.

Site managers must listen to workforce concerns and act on them

Green Acre Homes (South East) Ltd were found guilty in their of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974  and fined a £15,999 and ordered to pay costs of £6,909.

Magistrates heard that HSE “progressed the case on behalf of Mr Morgan” despite the firm going into liquidation in August 2011 and because the prosecution sends vital messages to all industries about working safely at heights.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Ian Seabrook said:

“Mr Morgan was lucky to have survived this fall. He and his colleague had tried several times to convince managers that a tower scaffold could not be safety erected where they had been told to put it. In addition neither of them was trained to construct scaffold towers.

Even after the firm’s client company had ordered the first one to be dismantled, they ignored the very valid concerns repeated by the two handymen, even when their fears were echoed by other workers on site.

Mr Morgan is paying a high price for the significant safety failings of Green Acre Homes. The case highlights how important it is that tower scaffolds are erected by trained and competent workers. It also illustrates the need for site managers to listen to the concerns of their workforce and act on them.”

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