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THREE FIRMS FINED AFTER TWO MEN PLUNGE FOUR STOREYS

Wooden platform in shaft failed under weight of workmen on university project

Cowlin Construction Ltd, Prestoplan Ltd and Somerset Carpenters Ltd have been ordered to pay a total of £232,000 in fines and costs after two workmen on an Exeter building site suffered severe injuries when the platform they were working on collapsed and fell four storeys down a lift shaft.

Exeter Crown Court heard (3 August) that the men were working on a student accommodation project for Exeter University when the incident happened in February 2008.

Somerset Carpenters were served with a prohibition notice by the HSE following an inspection at the site which banned them from working until safety measures had been put in place to stop workers falling down the lift shaft.

A wooden platform was erected over the shaft but it collapsed two weeks later sending Ricki Slocombe (35) and Matthew Blackmore (29) to the ground floor. Mr Blackmore suffered a fractured back and Mr Slocombe suffered two fractured legs. He has been unable to return to work since the incident.

Security of temporary structures is vital for safety

All three companies pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Cowlin Construction Ltd was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs. Prestoplan Ltd, which provides timber frame buildings, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 towards costs and Somerset Carpenters Ltd, which supplied labour at the site, was fined £50,000 with £20,000 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Simon Chilcott, said:

“This was a terrifying incident for the two men which could easily have let to their deaths. As it was, they suffered severe injuries, which were life-changing in the case of Mr Slocombe.

Contractors and employers must make sure they have taken all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment for workers to work in and that any temporary structures are secure.”

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One Response to “THREE FIRMS FINED AFTER TWO MEN PLUNGE FOUR STOREYS”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 10th OCTOBER 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] THREE FIRMS FINED AFTER TWO MEN PLUNGE FOUR STOREYS […]