Developer fined £300k after sign falls on passer-by

Grant Prior 11 years ago
Share

Developer St George and a Middlesex sign company have been sentenced for safety failings after a pedestrian sustained a permanent brain injury when parts of a decaying advertising sign fell onto her head.

Olivia Richardson, then aged 33, from Clapham, was hit by a section of a sign advertising the luxury St George Wharf development as she walked along the pavement at Vauxhall Cross, near Vauxhall Bridge in  March 2008.

She was hospitalised for five weeks, including several days in intensive care, and required significant brain surgery.

Formerly a primary school teacher, she is no longer able to work and continues to suffer from multiple permanent effects of her injury.

St George South London Ltd (SGSL), an agent for site owner St George Plc, and A E Tyler Ltd (AETL), then trading as Allsigns, who supplied, erected and carried out cosmetic maintenance of the sign, were both prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.

The Old Bailey heard that parts of the timber sign, measuring approximately 12 metres by 3 metres and positioned more than 3m above the pavement, had decayed to the point that it was blown down by a strong gust of wind.

Ms Richardson’s partner recalled hearing a cracking sound as the pair approached traffic lights at Vauxhall Bridge.

He turned to find her lying on her back beneath the sign, bleeding heavily from a deep head wound and slipping in and out of consciousness.

Heavy gusts were recorded on the day of the incident, but such was the poor condition of the sign, expert opinion was that it could have fallen at any time.

The HSE investigation established that the sign had a design life of two years, but had been in position for over nine years and had never once in that time been checked for structural soundness.

St George South London Ltd, of Imperial Wharf, Fulham, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £222,692 in costs.

A E Tyler Ltd, of Brentford, Middlesex, was fined £60,000 with £22,855 costs.

After sentencing HSE Inspector Loraine Charles said: “This very large advertising sign was positioned overlooking an extremely busy junction at the south end of Vauxhall Bridge, adjacent to an entrance to Vauxhall underground station and opposite the bus station.

“Tragic as the consequences were for Ms Richardson, they could have been even worse had this incident happened during rush hour and not on a Sunday afternoon.

“Throughout the time that the sign remained in place, St George South London Ltd made no sensible efforts to ensure that the structure was safe. Meanwhile, A E Tyler Ltd continued to carry out cosmetic maintenance to the sign, and to make changes to its appearance for many years after it had come to the end of its safe life, without alerting St George to its obligation to ensure that the sign was properly inspected and maintained.”

Latest news

Historic facade contractor goes into administration

Administrator seeking buyer for Charles Henshaw & Sons
9 hours ago

Tilbury Douglas site manager saves schoolboy’s life

Site manager carries collapsed schoolboy to resuscitation unit he helped build
8 hours ago

Plans lodged for 3,300-home Salford tower cluster

£1bn Regent Park scheme includes UK's third tallest building at 70 storeys
1 day ago

Domis founder Lee McCarren steps down

Fellow director Kingsley Thornton takes helm as co-founder retires
18 hours ago

Spencer lands civils package on £300m energy plant

Subcontract worth £23m on pioneering Manchester green energy storage scheme
15 hours ago

Van Elle and M&J Evans team-up for housing works

Piling and groundworks specialist start new collaboration deal
14 hours ago

Muse JV closes Wolverhampton City Centre West quarter deal

English Cities Fund completes council partner deal for 1,000-home plan
15 hours ago

Ofwat approves £88bn AMP8 water spending spree

Spending on infrastructure ringfenced, unspent funds returned to customers
1 day ago

‘Bellingham Bridge’ takes shape on HS2 in Birmingham

Watch work on four huge piers for bridge named after England superstar
1 day ago

Construction swings from weakest to strongest sector

Construction output rebounds by 1.9% in May after three months of decline
2 days ago

Costain appoints new commercial director

Paul Morris takes over from David Taylor
1 day ago

Galliford Try upbeat as profits set to beat expectations

Contractor reports profits and revenue up in year-end trading statement
2 days ago

Council agrees extra £16m to complete Botley bypass

Milestone Infrastructure will start work next Spring on £47m scheme
2 days ago

Care home specialist Kori Construction hits 10.5% margin

Corby contractor targets multi-room and retirement living after strong year of growth
2 days ago

Hill Group names new special projects chief

Cain Peters to head growing £300m multi-storey complex project arm
2 days ago

Listing bid by one person could scupper 37-storey student tower

Construction faces delay after lone call to list the Hotspur Press in Manchester
2 days ago

A57 Mottram Bypass start date now set for early 2025

National Highways confirms compound work on A57 Link Road scheme can now start
2 days ago

Crest Nicholson set to accept revised Bellway bid

Rival comes-in with a third offer
3 days ago

Concrete frame problems cost Barratt again

Major remediation works needed on two schemes in London
3 days ago

Ex-Taylor Wimpey chief to head Travis Perkins

Pete Redfern takes up CEO role at builders' merchant in September
3 days ago

Tendering opens for £3.7bn Eastern Green Link 3 work packages

Bid race starts for UK’s largest proposed HVDC transmission project
3 days ago

HG Construction wins 37-storey Manchester student tower

Work to get underway at One Medlock Street
3 days ago

GF Tomlinson trio decamp to rival Miller Knight

£24m turnover Mansfield contractor launches growth push
3 days ago

Balfour awarded £185m A9 dualling contract

Winner revealed for retendered job
3 days ago

Rayner rescues plans for two giant data centres

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to look again at rejected schemes
4 days ago

Skanska UK construction restates 2022 profit down £30m

Errors in project completion cost estimates force contractor to slash reported profit
4 days ago

Supply chain woes send Willmott Dixon to a loss

Contractor hails strong start to 2024 after making a £5.2m pre-tax loss last year
4 days ago

Vistry on track for 10% profit rise after subcontractor cost cuts

House builder expects half year operating profits to hit £227m
4 days ago

Work to start on £100m Staffordshire Uni student village

700-bed student village will be built at Stoke-on-Trent campus
4 days ago

Driver crushed by concrete blocks on housing site

Avant Homes fined £300,000 after site delivery death
4 days ago

Contractor services