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SITE HOARDING COLLAPSE INJURED PENSIONER

Catalogue of design and construction errors triggered collapse

Durkan Ltd has been fined for safety failings after a pensioner was struck on the head by hoarding as she walked past a construction site in South East London on 15 July 2010.

The 85-year-old sustained a deep cut that required 13 stitches and was hospitalised for eight days before eventually making a full recovery.

Westminster Magistrates heard (10 April) that the company was responsible for hoarding alongside a pavement outside the development. HSE investigators identified that the hoarding was “poorly maintained, badly designed and constructed, and had been overloaded with advertising material”.

Magistrates were told that had the incident could have been avoided if hoarding had been designed and maintained to withstand a specific weight and inclement weather.

Clear risk to passers-by and workers on the site

Durkan Ltd, of Waltham Cross, Herts, was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 Reg 28 which requires steps to ensure that temporary structure are of such design and so installed and maintained as to withstand any foreseeable loads.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Toby Webb said:

“Advertising hoardings of this nature are defined as temporary works and must be properly designed, constructed and maintained to ensure they are safe.

This sign and hoarding was not maintained in a safe condition, and a pensioner was seriously injured as a result. She could have been killed, and there was a clear risk to other passers-by as well as workers on the construction site it served. Durkan Ltd could and should done more to prevent that risk.”

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