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    CONCRETE PUMP LINE BURST SENDS DEBRIS ONTO POLICE CAR

    Poor maintenance ends in injury to member of public and costly prosecution

    London Concrete Pumping Ltd of Hertfordshire has been ordered to pay £39,000 in fines and prosecution costs after poorly maintained equipment lead to the injury of a passer-by on 24 May 2011.

    Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard (10 Sept) that the equipment was used to pump concrete to the top of a construction site near Buckingham Palace when the delivery pipe ruptured spraying the liquid concrete at high-velocity over a police vehicle and a passer-by.

    The court was told that the pump operator believed there was a blockage in the pipe. He therefore released the pressure and started reverse pumping. He could not see the entire length of the equipment and was told by a foreman that a pipe burst hitting people and a vehicle with concrete. The debris caused head injury to a woman and shattered the window of a police car some 25m away.

    HSE investigators found the pipe had been weakened in an earlier incident and had not been replaced or repaired. Magistrates were told the reason for the rupture was inadequate maintenance regime which allowed the pipe to be used. HSE said this increased the possibility of other machines being operated while in a poor condition.

    Failure to carry out effective maintenance put others at risk

    London Concrete Pumping Ltd of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £8000 and ordered to pay £31,000 in costs.

    After the hearing HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said:

    “It’s simply not acceptable for firms to show the level of disregard to people’s safety that London Concrete Pumping demonstrated here.

    Its failure to carry out effective maintenance on its plant and equipment meant the company put others at risk and ultimately led to a person being injured.

    Companies have a duty to ensure work activity is not only safe for workers, but also for people in the immediate vicinity. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to ensure both equipment and repair regimes are not up to scratch.”

     

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