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CONCRETE FLOOR COLLAPSED DURING REMEDIAL WORKS

Homes developer and bricklaying firm fined over obvious risk

Belmont Homes (Cheshire) Ltd and Waymac Ltd have been ordered to pay a total of £72,000 in fines and prosecution costs after a floor collapsed injuring three workers during construction of a six-bedroom Manchester ‘mansion’ in Manchester in November 2011.

One of the men sustained major injuries when he was struck by a falling concrete beam and has been unable to return to work.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that work at the site had been “badly planned, putting multiple lives in danger”. Belmont engaged several contractors, including bricklaying firm Waymac, to work on the project.

The frame for the first floor was identified as being too high and needed to be lowered. This involved reducing the height of concrete padstones by lifting the frame and subsequently lowering the frame back onto the padstones. During the installation of concrete floor beams following this work, the floor collapsed.

Three of the men fell with the beams falling on top of the men. Two escaped with minor injuries but one suffered severe injuries.

HSE investigators found the work to lower the steel frame was badly planned, and neither company had considered the potential risk of collapse whilst the structure was in a temporarily weakened state.

Obvious that lifting and lowering the floor could be dangerous

Belmont Homes (Cheshire) Ltd, of Budworth Heath in Cheshire, was fined £33,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

Waymac Ltd, of Eastway in Sale, was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure the structure did not collapse as a result of its work.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Neil Jamieson said:

“One of the workers has suffered devastating injuries as a result of the collapse, and the other two were lucky not to have been more seriously injured or even killed.

Belmont was responsible for the overall management of the work and the company failed to get a grip of the project. Waymac is also an experienced bricklaying firm and it should have been obvious to both companies that lifting and lowering the floor could be dangerous.

They should have sought the advice of a structural engineer before allowing the work to go ahead. If they had then the injuries the workers suffered could have been avoided.”

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