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CONCRETE SLAB BREAKING CAUSED WORKMEN TO FALL

Developer held to account over failure to plan structural works

A Welsh property developer, Plas Maldwyn Developments (Gruffydd Charles Beynon-Thomas T/A), has been fined after a contractor suffered major internal injuries when he fell through a floor and was hit by a falling concrete slab. Andrew Wilding, aged 47, was hurt whilst working on a project in Caersws on 23 May 2008.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard (24 January) that Mr Wilding and his colleague were using pneumatic drills to break up an unsupported concrete floor on the first storey of a former hospital outbuilding being converted into residential accommodation.

During the breaking work, the floor split and both men fell through to the ground below. A section of the broken floor slab fell on Mr Wilding, causing life-threatening internal injuries. HSE investigators revealed that safety of workers had not been secured by proper planning of structural work at an early stage in the project.

Advice required from structural engineer at an early stage

Plas Maldwyn Developments (Gruffydd Charles Beynon-Thomas T/A) of Caersws, Powys, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500

After the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said:

“People carrying out building refurbishment must ensure that structural work is properly planned and advice sought from a competent person, for example a structural engineer, at an early stage.

The consequences in failing to recognise the risks inherent in this type of work can be significant. This was a major incident that could easily have been fatal.”

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