Building Company Fined after Work Accident Injury

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 7 » Building Company Fined after Work Accident InjuryBuilding Company Fined after Work Accident InjuryA building company and the director of a roofing firm have been ordered to pay sizeable fines following a workplace accident that led to an employee suffering serious injuries.In 2012, a self-employed roofer had been under the control of John Donald of John Donald Roofing, which had been sub-contracted to carry out work on a building project by Right Angle Ltd.During work on a project in which three residential properties were being refurbished and extended, the unnamed worker was at one point clearing materials from a flat roof.He saw a piece of ply board that he thought was debris so he picked it up. However, the board was actually concealing a roof light void. The man, who was aged 28 at the time of the accident, ended up falling from a height of 5.6 metres.Multiple bones in his back were fractured and broken during the fall, while his thigh, lungs and diaphragm were bruised.The extent of the employee’s injuries meant he could not return to work for more than a year, and he has been left with a persistent back problem that requires treatment in hospital. This means he has had to seek employment elsewhere.HSE Work Accident InvestigationA work accident investigation launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the accident and a number of failings were identified at the building site.The HSE criticised John Donald and Right Angle Ltd for failing to take adequate steps to mark and protect voids in the roof.HSE Inspectors described the measures that had been in place as “totally unacceptable” and warned that many workers on the site could have experienced a similar accident. The HSE also identified a number of other shortcomings on the site, including open staircases without handrails and a lack of edge protection on scaffolding.In addition, excess rubbish and debris on the building site was said to have created numerous slip and trip hazards, while there were various fire risks with insufficient prevention measures in place.The HSE concluded that the defendants had not properly planned, managed or monitored the work, which meant that the accident had been completely avoidable.Right Angle Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was handed a £15,000 fine in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The company was also ordered to pay £5,375 in costs.In addition, John Donald admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £4,000, plus costs of £3,695.Danielle Coppell, an inspector at the HSE, commented, “There were numerous failings on the part of Right Angle Ltd that exposed multiple operatives to a host of foreseeable risks, including falls, slips and trips.”John Donald has to accept culpability as an experienced roofer who should have known better. He instructed the injured worker to work in an unsafe area where there were wholly insufficient measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall.”Ms Coppell added that the consequence of their shortcomings is that a young man has been left with life-changing spinal injuries, from which he might never completely recover.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Cable Strike Leads to Fines

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Cable Strike Leads to FinesCable Strike Leads to FinesTwo firms based in the North East of England have been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after workers were put at risk of electrocution.Chester-le-Street company Northern Construction Solutions and its Hexham-based counterpart Egger UK were taken to Court by the authority after failings were found in the management of groundworks by inspectors.Cable strikeNewcastle Magistrates’ Court was told that the cable strike took place as work was being undertaken at Egger’s site by Northern Construction Solutions.Staff members were asked to excavate an area in front of a newly built electrical substation in order to install a drainage system that would prevent power outages in the future if there was heavy rain or flooding from nearby rivers.To complete this task they used a digger, but as the bucket of the vehicle came into contact with the ground after a brief period of excavation, it touched onto a 20 kV underground electrical cable, something with enough power to easily kill any human in close proximity.Injury avoidedLuckily, workers were not electrocuted, despite the metal digger touching the live cable.The accident was recorded and passed on to the HSE, which sought to discover why staff members of Northern Construction Solutions were allowed to be in such close proximity to dangerous cables.It was concluded that it was Egger’s duty to provide Northern Construction Solutions with information regarding the location of electric cables.But while Egger gave the contractor an out-of-date diagram without the live wires in place, something that goes against health and safety law, Northern Construction Solutions knew this was the case and did not inform workers.FinesFor its part in the avoidable accident, which the HSE said could have led to multiple deaths, Egger was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £578.90 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.Northern Construction Solutions was also sanctioned and told to pay a combined £4,761.60 in costs and fines after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.”Fatal consequences”Even though nobody was injured in this case, the HSE has been quick to condemn both companies involved for putting their workers at risk of harm through a lack of record-keeping and poor communication.HSE Inspector Andrea Robbins said, “Fortunately nobody was hurt in this incident. However, the potential for serious, even fatal, injuries was foreseeable.”Had both Egger and Northern Construction Solutions adequately planned and managed the risks arising from contact with live underground cables before the excavation work started, e.g. isolation of the services, provision of up-to-date and accurate information on the location of the underground services, then this incident would have most probably been avoided.”The construction industry needs to be more aware of the dangers of working in the vicinity of live underground services. Appropriate planning and control measures should always be in place.”By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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