Steel falls nine floors onto workers

Grant Prior 4 years ago
Share

Two workers were left with broken bones but escaped with their lives after being struck by a length of steel that fell from nine floors above them.

Ryan Smith, 31, damaged a vertebrae and was forced to wear a brace for several months as a result of the incident at a renovation project in Bournemouth on 16 July 2013.

Co-worker Paul Martret, 42, suffered a fractured elbow as a result of the blow.

East Dorset Magistrates’ Court heard that both could have been killed by the falling object, which was knocked into a stairwell during work from a temporary platform.

Harbourview Developments Ltd appeared in court as the principal contractor for the refurbishment and conversion of two properties on Christchurch Road.

The work involved removing a stairwell and converting it into a lift shaft. A temporary platform was created using a series of scaffold planks resting on a scaffold tube structure, which was then put in place over the opening to the stairwell.

An HSE investigation established that work had started to fit a series of vertical and horizontal steel sections around the stairwell to facilitate the construction of additional floors and walls.

The installation of the steel sections involved chipping concrete around the edges underneath the temporary platform, which created a series of gaps up to 16cm wide along the edges.

On 16 July 2013, a subcontractor placed a 1.4 metre, 5kg piece of steel on a structural beam running parallel to the temporary work platform in order to step over it.

But he knocked the steel as he raised his leg, sending it plunging into a gap in the stairwell and towards the workers nine floors below.  

They were unable to move away in time and it struck them on their back and elbow respectively.

Magistrates heard the incident could have been avoided had Harbourview Developments Ltd better managed the temporary works to ensure there was no risk from falling materials.

The company, of ArenaBusinessPark, Poole, which is now in liquidation was fined a token amount of £1 after pleading guilty to safety breaches.

Speaking after sentencing HSE inspector Ian Whittles, said: “Mr Smith and Mr Martret sustained painful injuries, but could both have been killed by the falling metal, which struck them from height, at speed and without warning.

“Harbourview Developments failed to ensure that the refurbishment activity was carried out without presenting a danger. The incident was clearly preventable by using a combination of boarding and debris netting to create a safer working platform where materials or objects couldn’t fall through.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. It is a high risk activity that requires careful planning and execution at all times.”

Latest news

Forrest sites closed as contractor tries to refinance business

Company denies administration rumours as talks with banks continue
17 hours ago

Pre-construction work starts on £1bn Silvertown Tunnel

Specialist ITM Monitoring lands deal under pioneering Tfl framework
9 hours ago

Wates appoints former Willmott Dixon finance chief

Philip Wainwright joins as new Chief Financial Officer
12 hours ago

Spurs strike deal to use Wembley for whole season

Club agrees contingency plan if new stadium still not ready in the New Year
1 day ago

Galliford Try appoints new highways ops director

Three former Carillion directors now senior directors at highways business
16 hours ago

Plan for £410m London Camden Lock estate rebuilds

Estate rebuilds and linked Barratt scheme will deliver 1,300 homes at Camden Goods Yard site
16 hours ago

McAvoy wins Northumbria offsite hospital wing job

£15m order for new wing at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.
16 hours ago

Strabag confirmed for potash mine tunnel fit-out

Yorkshire potash mine developer signs off final construction contract
16 hours ago

Gravity probe could spell an end to hole digging on sites

Scientists get funding for new generation of sensors which could revolutionise ground investigation work
3 days ago

Amey wins £50m North West roads design

Amey Consulting secures Area 10 design deal adding to its maintenance contract
3 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
6 months ago

Construction new work output grows 2.8% in third quarter

Activity rebound driven by new private housing
3 days ago

McLaren gets green light to start Tottenham Hale revamp

Landlord Grainger acquires first phase of redevelopment scheme for £41m
4 days ago

Building boss fined after roof collapse on resi conversion

Lucky escape for three tilers after roof cave-in
4 days ago

Go-ahead for £100m Cardiff Interchange

22-storey flats, offices and bus station plan approved
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon Interiors appoints new Midlands chief

Phil Crowther to head midlands expansion of interiors business
4 days ago

Contractor hunt starts for £50m Leicester mixed-use scheme

Developer keen to talk to builders ahead of 2019 start date
5 days ago

Chinese contractor starts first Liverpool major project

£80m Lexington tower is to be built at Princes Dock for developer Moda
5 days ago

Toshiba scraps £15bn Moorside nuclear power station plan

Plan to build Europe's biggest nuclear power station binned
5 days ago

Betting Spy: Win double for West Ham and Spurs

Double pays 3/1 while Betting Spy is off to the rugby
4 days ago

Latest Aberdeen bypass delay costs Galliford Try extra £20m

Hit on Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route rises to £143m for Galliford Try
5 days ago

Clients fastest payers among Build UK members

Only four member firms pay their bills within 30 days: Full league table of payers
5 days ago

Court hands out £1.2m fine after digger ruptures gas pipe

Distributor and contractor fined after two workers injured during repair work
5 days ago

Subcontractors wanted for £50m Liverpool Cruise terminal

McLaughlin & Harvey has 50 work packages up for grabs: Register your interest now
5 days ago

Grainger signs London council JV for 300-home scheme

Plans to be submitted next year for Lewisham Council Besson Street scheme
5 days ago

Competition watchdog calls in powered access merger

Competition and Markets Authority investigates Nationwide Platforms deal to buy HSS's UK Platforms business
5 days ago

Plans for Birmingham ‘NEC city’ and airport expansion

Plan for extra 3.4m sq ft and 2,500 homes at NEC campus
6 days ago

Fifteen firms to share £8.7bn highways bonanza

Highways England switches to performance rather than profit based deals
6 days ago

Persimmon chief to leave after £75m bonus controversy

Jeff Fairburn to step down "by mutual agreement and at the request of the company"
6 days ago

Acheson & Glover Precast placed in administration

Pre-stressed hollowcore flooring specialist collapses
6 days ago

Contractor services