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    CRAZY TRAIN OF EVENTS END IN LEG AMPUTATION

    Director held responsible for structural collapse and resultant injury

    David Mitchell, director of Ferndown Developments Ltd, has been fined after a construction worker was seriously injured whilst working on domestic premises in Dorset during April 2009.

    HSE investigators found that the property was on a sloping site and excavation below the level of the existing foundation was required in order to construct foundations for the new extension.

    James O’Connor, aged 42, was reducing the ground level when an existing gable wall collapsed, knocking him to the ground. Part of the wall fell through the windscreen of an excavator and activated the reverse lever. Mr O’Connor’s leg was drawn into the track of the excavator and he suffered shoulder, back and leg injuries and surgeons amputated his leg above the knee.

    Mr Mitchell failed to identify the need to support the building during the excavation and foundation stages of the project. The CDM Regulations 2007 require steps to ensure that structures which may become unstable due to construction work do not collapse.

    Structural engineer required prior to work starting

    David Mitchell, director of Ferndown Developments Ltd, Park Homer Drive, Wimborne, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 28(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,000.

    Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Frank Flannery said:

    “This was a very serious and wholly preventable incident in which a man in his prime lost a leg as a result of the omissions and failings during the planning and construction phases of the project.

    Had Mr Mitchell fully assessed the safety aspects of the work that he was contracted to do prior to starting, he would have identified the need to support the building during the excavation and the building of the new foundation. This would have allowed a structural engineer to be instructed prior to the work starting, and a safe system of work could have been determined.

    Whilst welcoming the verdict today, the fact remains that this incident could have easily resulted in a more erious outcome and is a reminder to all those in the construction industry of their legal duties to manage health and safety.”

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