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CRANE USED TO RESCUE SERIOUSLY INJURED WORKMAN

Firm fined £143,000 after HSE warnings on inadequate safety management

Jehu Project Services Ltd has been sentenced after a worker was seriously injured when he fell into a “lift pit” in July 2015 at a construction site in Cardiff.

Stephen Harrison, a specialist drilling contractor, was employed on a project to refurbish a 73-bed care home when he fell into the basement of a lift pit. He stepped onto the ground floor from a tower scaffold where he stood on a loose concrete block causing him to fall backwards into a skip located on the floor below.

A specialist Fire and Rescue team used a tower crane to rescue the workman from pit to a waiting ambulance. He suffered shattered vertebrae, five broken ribs and a punctured lung. He is still recovering and his injuries which are said to be life-changing.

Precautions removed

HSE found that the system of lightweight barriers around open edges and “bean bags” below was incompatible with all of the work that needed to be done had therefore been removed. Following the incident properly erected scaffolding was used to prevent falls.

Workman fell from upper level

Newport Crown Court heard that there were numerous management failings including:

  • lack of effective site management and supervision;
  • the Construction Phase Plan did not properly consider obvious working at height risks; and
  • lack of an effective Temporary Works Management System.

Jehu Project Services Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, Regulation 13(1) and Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3) and was fined £143,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,029.30.

HSE Inspector Liam Osborne, who brought the case, said:

“Jehu Project Services Ltd had been given many warnings in the past by HSE about the lack of effective planning, managing and monitoring on their construction sites, as well as warnings about unsafe working at height. The court heard some really positive steps the company are now taking to put these matters right, including making substantial management changes.

It is crucial that construction firms properly think through the risks involved before starting work, they then need to ensure there is a workable plan to iron-out or manage the resultant dangers.

There is a clear hierarchy for managing work at height risks, site managers need to prevent it if possible and then provide suitable fixed barriers. Lower-order measures, such as soft-landing systems or the use of harnesses should only be selected as a last resort and if it is safe and appropriate to do so”.

 

Workman fell into the pit area

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