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COMPANY FAILED TO SUPERVISE SAFE SYSTEM OF WORK

Workman fell from wall plate during flawed roof truss installation

MGM Ltd has been fined after a workman fell 2.5m from a wall whilst working on a County new-build residential home in County Durham July 2012.

Consett Magistrates heard (15 August) that David Hammel was part of a four-man team installing roof trusses. He was standing on a wall plate on top of a block wall that formed the shell of a second-floor room waiting to receive and manoeuvre a roof truss into place. The roof truss slipped and knocked him from the wall plate into a corridor below.

Speaking after the court case Mr Hammel said:

“I hope this prosecution will act as a reminder to building contractors of the responsibilities they have to individuals on site. I’m still here to tell the tale but it could have been a lot worse. This incident has ruined my career and I wouldn’t like to see it happen to anyone else.”

HSE investigators established that the measures to prevent a fall were “wholly insufficient”. The planned system of work required a crane to hold and support the trusses whilst they were temporally fixed. However, on the day of the incident there was no crane on site and the joiners were allowed to install the roof trusses manually.

The investigation concluded that if a crane had been used it is highly unlikely that the roof truss would have fallen or slipped.

Planned safe systems of work must be supervised effectively

MGM Ltd of Rhodes Street, Newcastle, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,184 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John McGill, said:

“This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury..

Work at height is inherently fraught with risk and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry. It is therefore essential that work at height is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers.

Work at height activities should only ever be undertaken by competent personnel with the right equipment, knowledge and experience.

This incident also emphasises the need for those who control work activities to ensure that they establish safe systems of work, make sure they are adhered to and that effective supervision is in place.”

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One Response to “COMPANY FAILED TO SUPERVISE SAFE SYSTEM OF WORK”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 23 OCTOBER 2013 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] COMPANY FAILED TO SUPERVISE SAFE SYSTEM OF WORK […]