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FALLING HOARDING STRUCK TWO PASSING PENSIONERS

Design of site fencing should be able to withstand high winds

Gary Bluff Projects Ltd has been fined after two pensioners were hit by a hoarding that collapsed in high winds during refurbishment of a restaurant at a shopping centre in Leicester on 22 February 2012.

Leicester magistrates heard (30 April) the firm erected the hoarding consisting of plywood attached to metal fencing some 2m high around the outside of the restaurant. However, the hoarding was not properly designed and unable to withstand high winds.

Part of the hoarding collapsed in the wind and struck the elderly couple knocking them to the ground and leaving them in shock. The woman received hospital treatment for her injuries.

Plywood attached to the fencing “turned it into a sail”

Gary Bluff Projects Ltd, of Paradise Square, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for failing to ensure the hoarding was properly designed and installed. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,735. It was also ordered to pay a total of £500 compensation to the two victims.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mhairi Lockwood said:

“The company had a duty to its workforce and members of the public to ensure the hoarding around the restaurant was safe. It failed to design the hoarding in such a way that it could withstand high winds. Once the plywood was attached to the metal fencing it effectively turned it into a sail.

This couple were lucky not to have been more seriously injured. As it was they suffered injuries and shock that could and should have been avoided.”

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