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MAJOR HOMES FIRM OVERLOADED PLATFORM

Court hears how platform collapsed under weight of blocks

Bellway Homes Ltd has been fined after a bricklayer was badly injured when a temporary platform collapsed on a development near Reading in August 2013.

Daniel Kersey, aged 64, fractured vertebrae and sustained deep cuts and bruising when the platform over a stairwell loaded with some 70 concrete blocks crashed to the floor. HSE investigators identified concerns with the management of temporary works at the site.

Reading Crown Court heard that Mr Kersey was working on the last of 64 properties at the development and the platform and methods used were consistent with others across the new build development.

HSE inspectors established the platform was not built to an approved design or checked for stability prior to being used. The platform was “structurally unsound” plus the weight of blocks and Mr Kersey triggered the collapse.

The court heard this was the second time the company has been prosecuted over failings with temporary works.

Failed to implement system for monitoring platforms

Bellway Homes Ltd, of Newcastle, was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay a further £14,520 in costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two separate breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dominic Goacher commented:

“The need to plan, manage and monitor temporary works on construction sites is well documented, yet despite this, and the earlier prosecution, Bellway Homes failed to implement an effective system for monitoring platforms and the like throughout the lifetime of the Mitford Fields site.

Bellway Homes is the fourth largest house builder in the UK and it would be expected the company has enough knowledge and experience to have been able to put proper controls in place.

Mr Kersey was left in considerable pain as a result of the fall, but could easily have been killed, either by the impact or the concrete blocks as they rained down around him.”

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