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

Serious Fraud Office launches probe into North West sites

Series of addresses searched over suspected fraud on developments in Liverpool and Manchester
3 days ago

Summer site start for £200m Birmingham mixed use scheme

Colmore Tang to build Connaught Square scheme featuring 27-storey tower
2 days ago

Hitachi halts construction work at Wylfa nuclear site

Japanese giant fails to strike funding deal with UK government
3 days ago

Build-to-rent home construction jumps 40%

Number of rental homes in planning jumps 10% to over 60,000
2 days ago

BAM wins £320m Scotland and North East railways deal

AmcoGiffen, Story Contracting and QTS also secure framework places
3 days ago

Galliard and O’Shea team up for £130m Nine Elms scheme

Plan for over 260 homes on one of seven plots at former Royal Mail site
3 days ago

20 consultants win £100m Homes England framework

Aecom, Atkins, Jacobs, Mace and WSP make new multi-disciplinary framework
3 days ago

Buyer deposits repaid as Manchester’s tallest tower axed

54-floor St John's Place residential tower pulled in face of cooling demand
3 days ago

Billionaire Warren Buffett targets UK construction insurance

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance enters market as contractors struggle for cover
3 days ago

Skilled trades pay rates hit £1000-a-week in Midlands

Self employed workers enjoyed wage rises of 6.7% last year
3 days ago

Kier boss leaves to become Rydon construction head

Mark Norris leaves operations director role at Kier after 13 months
4 days ago

Go-ahead for £60m Nottingham HMRC hub

Bowmer & Kirkland believed to be in line to build Unity Square offices
3 days ago

Crooked bookkeeper stole £100k from cladding contractor

Court hears how mother and daughter used company cash to fund their lifestyles
4 days ago

£50m stands approved for Lords cricket ground

Builder ISG to start in August on new Edrich and Compton stands
4 days ago

Roof trusses fall on labourer

Darlington Council fined for poor site management
3 days ago

Union demands “period dignity” on construction sites

Multiplex first contractor to sign-up with campaign for better site toilets
4 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
9 months ago

Van Elle profit warning after “challenging” quarter

Lower margin contracts drag down performance as restructuring continues
4 days ago

Balfour boss in Brexit blast at Chancellor

Leo Quinn highlights construction's fears in conference call with ministers
4 days ago

Wates wins £90m post-Grenfell reclad job

Work to start this summer on five tower blocks at North London's Chalcots Estate
4 days ago

Construction forecasters bet on delayed soft Brexit

Crystal ball gazers believe UK will avoid workload fall with sluggish growth in 2019
4 days ago

Plan for £300m Lincolnshire power station

Czech power firm plans energy from waste plant next to South Humber Bank power station
4 days ago

Fitzgerald returns Bovis Homes to record profits

Margins restored and completions up 3% after 18-month turnaround
4 days ago

Late payment bill boosts calls for project bank accounts

Second reading due as MP fights to protect subcontractors from Carillion-style collapses
5 days ago

Plant hire giant Hawk falls into administration

Administrators pledge to keep kit working on site as they look for a buyer
5 days ago

HS2 forces firms to use least polluting trucks and plant

Rail project raises bar to exceed London emission standards
5 days ago

Watkin Jones hits record profits as pipeline grows

Firm enjoys three-year pipeline of 24 student rooms and build to rent sites
5 days ago

South Eastern Electrical went down owing £4m to suppliers

Contracts sold by administrators to associated company SEE Rail
5 days ago

Carey wins £16m Stratford Waterfront civils package

Cladding and mechanical packages will come up for bid in next three months
5 days ago

Mace confirmed for £350m Paddington Cube

Erith, Keltbray, J Coffey and Getjar chase basement contract
6 days ago

Contractor services