Wall collapses on labourer during refurb job

Grant Prior 11 months ago
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A Manchester contractor and a company owner have been sentenced after a worker was seriously injured on a refurbishment site.

The 53-year-old father of two from Salford was employed as a labourer at the site of a refurbishment project on Portland Street when the incident occurred on 29 August 2014.

An HSE investigation led to main contractor Workspace Design and Build Ltd and Paul Harrison, former director of Access Flooring Specialist Ltd, being prosecuted for serious safety failings.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how two operatives working for Access Flooring Specialist Ltd had started the demolition of a freestanding concrete block wall on the site using a demolition hammer.

One of the men had started to cut into the wall just above the half way point, when the second man took over and continued from the top using step ladders for access.

As he did so, the top half of the wall collapsed knocking him from the ladder and landing on top of him.

The injured man suffered fractures to his neck and back and spent three months in hospital following the incident. He has been unable to return to work since.

The HSE investigation found there was no suitable risk assessment in place for the work that was being carried out and the workers had not been provided with suitable work instructions for carrying out this task safely.

In addition no checks had been made regarding the injured workers training or experience, he was not provided with a site induction or adequate PPE for the task and the work on site was not being supervised.

Workspace Design and Build Ltd of Manchester One, Portland Street, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching CDM regulations and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2972.

Paul Harrison of Tyldsley, Manchester pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £1300 and ordered to pay costs of £2851

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “The risks associated with the demolition of the internal walls at Manchester One were not properly considered and, as a result, there was no safe system of work in place for the operatives to follow.

“Together with a lack of adequate supervision, these failings resulted in one man suffering serious and life changing injuries, which could have been prevented had the work been properly planned and managed.”

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