Wates site hoarding falls on toddler

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A two-year-old child escaped with minor injuries after a 17 metre wide shop hoarding collapsed on him at a Merseyside shopping centre.

The toddler was enjoying a day out with his father and grandparents at the Racecourse Retail Park at Aintree when the hoarding, which had been erected outside a new shop, overturned as the family were walking past, leaving them with cuts and bruises.

Wates Construction, and Dean Lotwick, who trades as Hammerwich Construction, were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident on 29 September 2008.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that Wates had commissioned Dean Lotwick to build the 2.4-metre high hoarding to run outside a shop which was being newly fitted out at the Retail Park.

But because the hoardings had not been designed properly, they could not withstand the wind and they blew over as the family walked past.

Wates and Dean pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) regulations.

Wates was given a fine of £4,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £5,273, while Lotwick, of Cannock Road, Bruntwood, Staffordshire, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,963 costs.

HSE inspector Kevin Jones said: “What should have been a pleasurable day out turned into an unpleasant and frightening experience for this family.

“Not only did they sustain injuries, but I can imagine that the panic they experienced when their baby disappeared under the hoarding would have been considerable.

“It is important that those involved in construction recognise that temporary works such as hoardings are properly designed by competent people and built to the agreed design.

“This clearly didn’t happen in this case and the result of this was an incident which could have easily been prevented.”

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