Worker cheats death in 9 tonne steel collapse

Grant Prior 12 years ago

A Surrey contractor has been hit with £160,000 in fines and costs after a worker narrowly escaped death when he was caught in a collapse of nine tonnes of steel and concrete.

Bola Akinola, 48, fell more than four metres when steelwork supporting concrete floor planks failed causing the collapse at a site in Westerham, Kent on 9 May 2009.

Akinola, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, leg and arm.

He was in hospital for several weeks and was unable to work for nearly a year. He has still not regained full mobility in his left arm.

Esher-based Landmark Groundworks Ltd was prosecuted during a nine-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court

The court heard Akinola was helping to build a large new basement alongside an empty house that was being refurbished and extended. Landmark Groundworks was contracted to oversee the project and provide supporting steelwork.

On the day of the incident, a separate subcontractor who employed Akinola,  had laid around 50 concrete floor planks, each weighing up to two tonnes, for the ground floor.

Four planks were laid on a beam that had not been fixed at one end and only held with small welds at the other. As a result the beam tilted and gave way while workers were still on the planks.

Akinola, a plank installer, fell four metres into the basement with the collapsing steel and three of the floor planks. Another worker managed to jump to safety as the floor gave way.

An HSE investigation found that Landmark Groundworks  had ignored design proposals by two structural engineers that would have helped ensure the project was carried out safely.

In addition Landmark did not carry out checks on the installation to ensure it was ready to load out.

The company, of Wren House, Portsmouth Road, Esher, was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs after being found guilty of safety breaches.

After the hearing HSE Inspector John Underwood said: “Buildings do not build themselves. The process needs to be actively managed to ensure that subcontractors get the correct information and use it.

“It is completely unacceptable for a main contactor, Landmark Groundworks Ltd, to allow work to continue with a botched design, and with no checks carried out on either the design or the installation.

“This incident resulted in life-changing injuries to Mr Akinola and it was a matter of luck that the collapse of nearly nine tonnes of building material did not result in multiple fatalities.”

Latest news

Lendlease puts construction arm up for sale

Radical global restructure to raise £2.3bn and focus on Australia
2 hours ago

Former Crossrail boss Mark Wild to lead HS2

Wild to bear down on spiralling costs and bring rejigged scheme in on time
20 hours ago

Receivers in at £125m Manchester tower developer

Domis Construction walked away from scheme following doubts over funding
2 days ago

Costain A1 £260m dualling job finally gets go-ahead

Ministers sat on planning inspectors report for nearly three years
7 hours ago

Election delays decision on Lower Thames Crossing

Planning decision on £1.2bn Luton airport expansion also pushed back six months
7 hours ago

Caddick steps-in at former Lane End housing job

Contractor to restart phase of £262m scheme hit by administration
7 hours ago

Plans in for Leeds iconic Tetley building revamp

Former brewing giant's HQ to become indoor market and offices
7 hours ago

BAM wins first phase of North Devon hospital revamp

New staff accommodation to kick-off hospital redevelopment
7 hours ago

McAlpine pulls out of £55m Carlisle Citadels project

University of Cumbria starts hunt for replacement contractor
5 days ago

Strabag UK suffers further big trading loss

Austrian contractor is gearing up for major presence in the UK market
4 days ago

Durham Uni picks UPP for £130m student scheme

Firm will deliver 1,000 self-catered bed spaces
4 days ago

Architects now upbeat after 10-months of work gloom

Larger practices see rising workloads in next three months
4 days ago

Motorist dies after collision with road paver

Police Scotland investigating fatal crash
5 days ago

McLaren Living appoints HG Construction for £69m scheme

Build to Rent scheme will transform former vacant car park site in Leeds city centre
5 days ago

Squibb liquidator probes £2m of “missing” plant

Machinery, cars and scrap metal have disappeared at demolition specialist
5 days ago

Galliford Try to re-enter affordable homes market

Contractor sets out new five-year plan to build margin to 4%
5 days ago

Former Sellar chief to lead civils contractor Kilnbridge

Owen Dannatt joins as new CEO as founder Dermot McDermott becomes Chairman
5 days ago

Hunt starts for nuclear fusion plant construction partner

Fusion energy plant to be built at West Burton coal power station site.
5 days ago

National Grid raises £7bn for big infrastructure upgrade

Rights issue to fund a major round of capital investment in energy infrastructure
5 days ago

Grenfell police probe to last at least until end of 2025

19 companies and 58 individuals could eventually face charges
6 days ago

Mace confirmed on £100m London office retrofit

Work underway on Helical's 100 New Bridge Street job near Ludgate Circus
6 days ago

Wylfa chosen for next big nuclear power station build

Government names Anglesey site for a large-scale gigawatt nuclear power plant.
6 days ago

Bowmer & Kirkland trading profit halves

Contractor buys HVAC specialist Adcock despite challenging market
6 days ago

Piling specialist Van Elle plans further job cuts

Piling specialist plans further cost savings in face of lower demand
6 days ago

Civils contractor A Catlow files administration notice

High voltage cable specialist lodges court notice
6 days ago

Green light for ARC Oxford lab campus

Work to start later this year on £40m Ascent building job
6 days ago

Stonehenge tunnel hit by another legal delay

Court upholds latest appeal against £1.7bn scheme by campaigners
1 week ago

Plans go in for huge Olympic Park construction hub

Bow Goods Yard could deliver 3.5m tonnes of materials a year to sites across London
1 week ago

40% affordable homes target for Labour’s new towns

Labour pledges to select new town sites by end of first year
1 week ago

Plan for £100m Liverpool Baltic station

Construction work could begin next year
1 week ago

Contractor services