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    EXCAVATION CAUSED RETAINING WALL COLLAPSE

    Precautions not taken to secure stability of free-standing wall

    A landscaping services company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when a retaining wall collapsed into a trench in November 2016.

    Newton Aycliffe Magistrates heard how an employee was undertaking preparatory groundworks for the installation a new timber retaining structure in the rear garden of a property at Beamish, County Durham.

    During the work involving excavating a trench in front of an existing blockwork wall a section of the wall collapsed. The wall fell onto the workman trapping him and causing a complex fracture to his pelvis which required surgery.

    He has not been able to return to work since the incident.

    Failed to properly plan and manage installation structure

    HSE investigators found that the company failed to properly plan and manage installation of the timber structure and did not provide sufficient control measures to prevent the collapse of the existing blockwork wall.

    • Award Winning Greenfingers Limited – of Gateshead pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 19 (1) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1048.86 and a victim surcharge of £220.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Cain Mitchell said:

    “This case highlights the dangers of undermining a freestanding wall by excavating alongside the structure without appropriate planning and the necessary precautions in place.

    If the company had implemented reasonably practicable measures that minimised the risk to persons working next to such structures this incident could easily have been avoided’’.

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