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MAJOR CONTRACTOR FAILED ON TEMPORARY WORKS SAFETY

Inadequate support for floor decking caused collapse and lucky escape 

Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern Ltd has been prosecuted for safety failings after an unsupported floor deck collapsed during work at the Plymouth Life Centre. Two workers fell 2.5m in the incident on 8 July 2011 and both escaped with minor injuries.

Plymouth Magistrates heard (29 October) that the workers were pouring concrete on the deck to form the floor. However, no temporary support was used and the combined weight of the men concrete caused the deck to collapse under the load.

HSE investigators found that the company failed to ensure that sufficient steps were taken to protect workers during the construction work that led to the collapse. The company failed to follow its temporary works procedure and should have checked that the deck was properly supported before allowing the work to commence.

TW procedure would have highlighted need for support

Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern Ltd, of 24 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh pleaded guilty to a single breach of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,347.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Andrew Kingscott said:

“The two workers were fortunate not to have been seriously injured in this incident, which was entirely preventable had Balfour Beatty followed the proper temporary works procedure.

The correct procedure would have highlighted the need to use a temporary support, such as stronger steel decking, propping or the construction of a temporary wall.”

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