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    Key section of canopy truss steelwork failed due to insufficient weld

    Adstone Construction Ltd has been ordered to pay fines and prosecution costs of more than £200,000 after five workmen were seriously injured when a heavy steel canopy collapsed.

    The men sustained injuries ranging from fractures and broken bones to cuts and bruising following a 13m plunge at the Abraham Darby Academy in Telford, on 25 August 2011.

    Shrewsbury Crown Court heard (12 Dec) that key pieces of the canopy truss steelwork were insufficiently welded together. When further materials were added to the roof the key welds failed and the structure collapsed taking the men with it and causing enormous damage to the front of the new school.

    The collapsed canopy was 57 metres long and weighed in at over 40 tonnes. A large vertical steel support column for the canopy also collapsed as a direct result of the canopy failure.

    HSE found the company failed to provide adequate instructions to those responsible for the fabrication and welding of the canopy truss, and failed to adequately inspect the completed work.

    Failure took five workers on 13m “terror ride”

    Adstone Construction Ltd, of Droitwich, was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £106,098 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

    worker with protective mask and gloves weldingSpeaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Bowker said:

    “This incident had enormous potential for loss of life. The canopy collapsed suddenly and violently without warning taking the five roofers that were on it down over 13 metres to the ground on what can only be described as a terror ride. It is a miracle that they were not more seriously injured or even killed.

    Other construction workers had been working directly under the school canopy for most of the day installing windows in the new school. Fortunately they were not under the canopy when it collapsed.

    Adstone Construction Ltd fabricated the steelwork for the canopy and failed to ensure that critical welds within the design of the steel truss were completed to the required specification and size.

    This failure led the canopy to collapse as more roofing material was added.

    It is vital that companies carrying out this type of work have suitable and sufficient quality control measures in place in order to ensure that the structural integrity of the new building is never in question.”

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