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MAJOR CONTRACTOR FINED OVER BEAM COLLAPSE

orrWorkman crushed during railway bridge replacement

BAM Nuttall Ltd has been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £42,700 after the pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law in December 2010, during the replacement of a South London railway bridge. The incident caused a construction worker to suffer life changing injuries.

The company was the principal contractor on a project to demolish and replace Pouparts Bridge, located between Clapham Junction and Battersea Park in South London. The lifting elements were of the work to Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd.

On 27 December 2010, Balfour Beatty construction workers were preparing to lift a steel and concrete ‘L’ shaped beam, weighing approximately six tonnes, by crane from a railway wagon into its new position on the bridge.

The beam toppled over as it was being released from the wagon, crushing the legs of a worker just above the ankle on the floor of the rail wagon. He suffered severe injuries which led to one leg being amputated.

Catalogue of failures revealed

Southwark Crown Court heard that ORR investigators which found the company failed to assess the risks associated with loading and unloading the beams; had not planned the activity appropriately and information was not provided about the potential instability of the concrete beam.

Tom Wake, ORR’s principal inspector of railways – South East said:

 “BAM Nuttall has a duty of care to protect its employees and sub-contractors from being harmed while working on their construction sites. In December 2010, the company failed to adequately plan the loading and securing of a steel and concrete beam for a bridge, weighing over six tonnes, on a railway wagon.

This failing led to one of the beams toppling over, trapping a construction worker’s legs just above the ankle when he was preparing it for lifting. As a result he suffered severe, life changing injuries, which led to one leg being amputated.”

ORR’s investigation found that BAM Nuttall had not adequately planned, managed or monitored the loading, securing and unloading of these large and heavy beams. The company also failed to communicate the potential dangers to construction workers responsible for handling the beams. These serious failings are not acceptable conduct from a company in charge of high risk construction sites across Britain’s railways.

The safety of workers at rail construction sites is a top priority for the regulator. ORR inspectors are out on the railway network, monitoring rail and construction companies such as BAM Nuttall, to ensure safety is not compromised.”

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