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TIMBER FRAME ERECTION LACKED PLANNING FOR SAFETY

PC and contractor prosecuted despite both businesses folding

C J Deighton & Co Ltd and Julian Chard Carpentry Ltd have been prosecuted after a labourer suffered multiple injuries in a fall from unguarded scaffolding during construction of timber frames on a Wiltshire project in March 2012.

Chippenham Magistrates’ Court heard today (14 May) that Stephen Keegan, aged 56, was involved in building the frames when he fell some 2m from an unguarded section of scaffolding. He suffered a fractured knee, broken collarbone, fractured wrist and perforated ear drum.

HSE investigators found that Swindon-based C J Deighton & Co Ltd failed to:

  • properly plan and manage construction activities on site to ensure safety;
  • provide adequate up-to-date information to site management and others; and 
  • provide internal edge protection around the porch area where Mr Keegan fell.

The court heard that site management identified the problem and fitted a temporary and inadequate guard rail. The work proceeded for a number of days despite the company knowing it was unsafe to do so.

HSE inspectors also found sub-contractor Julian Chard Carpentry Ltd failed to supervise the work or put adequate safety measures in place to protect anyone working at height on the timber frame construction.

Proper planning and communication was required

C J Deighton & Co Ltd, of Swindon was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,122 in costs after being found guilty in their absence of breaching CDM Regulation 22(1) which requires the principal contractor to plan, manage and monitor the project construction phase so it is carried out without risks to health or safety.

Julian Chard Carpentry Ltd, of Frome was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,121 in costs after also being found guilty in their absence of breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 which requires the employer to ensure measures are taken to prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

CJ Deighton has gone in liquidation and Julian Chard Carpentry has now ceased trading. After the hearing, HSE inspector Helena Tinton said:

“This was a serious incident which could easily have been prevented. There were significant failures by both C J Deighton and Julian Chard Carpentry.

With proper planning and communication a suitable scaffold could have been provided. Monitoring and supervision on-site should have identified the unsafe work at height and work halted until the scaffold was corrected or measures put in place to mitigate a fall.

Mr Keegan has undergone several operations since his fall and is unlikely to get full mobility in his shoulder, knee or wrist. This was only a temporary job for Mr Keegan and, as a self-employed painter and decorator, his injuries meant that he could not work at all for six months and they will severely hamper his future ability to work.”

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