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MEMBER OF PUBLIC STRUCK BY FALLING MATERIAL

Firm fined over failure to fence off areas where masonry fell

Majestic Construction Limited of Portsmouth firm been fined after a member of the public was struck by masonry during unsafe overhead work in Surrey. The 29 year-old passer-by cut and bruised his shoulder and experienced muscle spasms as a result of the incident in May 2012.

Guildford Magistrates heard today (4 March) that the company was undertaking work above shops to clean stonework and install pigeon spikes. 

A MEWP being used was being repositioned when it struck the building and dislodged a 8kg chunk of masonry which fell 8m to the pavement below striking the pedestrian and knocking him to the ground.

HSE investigators established that although barriers were placed around the nearside support legs of the MEWP there was nothing to prevent anyone from walking directly underneath the ongoing work overhead. Magistrates were told that the incident could have been prevented had the work been better managed with a proper safety cordon in place.

Public safety needs to be proactively managed

Majestic Construction Limited, of Lakeside, North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,473 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

...........Moment of impact

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident that resulted in a large chunk of masonry being knocked onto an entirely innocent pedestrian. It is pure luck that it missed his head, otherwise he could well have been killed.

Simply fencing off the area beneath the works and providing an alternative route around it is all that was necessary.

Where people are working overhead in a public area they must exclude the public from the work area wherever possible. Public safety needs to be proactively managed in exactly the same way as that of those undertaking the work, and not just left to chance.”

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