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TEMPORARY WORKS FAILURE LEAD TO DEATH

TW on major project not built to safe design and checked

The Principal Contractor and two other contractors on a major London construction project have been fined a combimed total of over £1,000,000 after one workman died and two others were badly injured when a temporary platform collapsed on 29th October 2012.

Southwark Crown Court heard how a carpenter and a steel-fixer were standing on a temporary wooden platform above a stairwell opening on the 9th floor of a construction site when the platform suddenly gave way.

The men fell through the opening a distance of 16m opening and landed on the partly-constructed concrete staircase below. The carpenter sadly sustained fatal injuries

The steel-fixer survived the fall but was seriously injured taking almost 3 years to recover sufficiently to be able to return to work.

An assistant engineer working in the stairwell on a lower level was hit by falling debris and also sustained serious injuries.

Timber joists supported by unsuitable hangers

HSE investigators found that similar platforms were constructed on other floors throughout the construction site using timber joists supported by unsuitable joist hangers with plywood fixed on top.

The platforms formed part of the ‘temporary works’ but were not built to an agreed safe design. The quality of the build was not checked by those in control of the site, even though the platforms were crucial to the safety of workers on upper floors.

  • St James Group Limited – of Berkeley House, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, the Principal Contractor, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a), Construction (Design and Management) [CDM] Regulations 2007, and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,935.54.
  • Mitchellson Formwork and Civil Engineering Limited – of Mitchellson House, Horton Trading Estate, Horton, Slough, Berkshire, the contractors responsible for constructing the platforms, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2), of the Construction (Design and Management) [CDM] Regulations 2007, and was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,935.54.
  • RGF Construction Limited – of Howard Road, Seer Green, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, a site agent who assisted with managing the work, was found guilty at an earlier hearing on 4 July 2016 of breaching Regulations 13(2), and 28(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £20,000.

Karen Morris, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, said

“The risks of falling from height are well-known, and the risk of joist hanger failure is well-documented. This tragic incident illustrates what can happen if temporary works are not properly organised.

All those who have a role in planning and managing work on site must take responsibility for ensuring that serious risks are properly controlled.”

 

 

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