Bricklayer breaks back as overloaded platform fails

Aaron Morby 7 years ago

National house builder Bellway has been fined after a bricklayer suffered back injuries in a three metre fall when a temporary platform collapsed.

Daniel Kersey, 64, from Royal Wootton Bassett, fractured vertebrae and sustained deep cuts and bruising in the incident at the Mitford Fields development in Reading on 5 August 2013.

He was working on a platform over a stairwell that was loaded with almost 70 concrete blocks. They crashed to the floor below with him when it gave way.

Reading Crown Court heard that Kersey was working on the last of 64 Bellway properties at the site, and that the platform and methods used were consistent with others across the new build development.

HSE inspectors found that the platform wasn’t built to an approved design or checked for stability prior to being used. It was structurally unsound and the weight of the blocks combined with Kersey caused it to fail.

The bricklayer was unable to work for several weeks as a result of his injuries and has been left with regular back pains. He is also unable to lift heavy weights since the fall.

The court was told it was the second time that HSE has prosecuted Bellway Homes for failings with temporary works.

It was also fined in April last year following an incident in December 2012 where a subcontractor fell through a stairwell when a temporary handrail gave way at a site in Shiremoor, North Tyneside.

Bellway Homes was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay a further £14,520 in costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two separate safety breaches.

HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said: “The need to plan, manage and monitor temporary works on construction sites is well documented, yet despite this, and the earlier prosecution, Bellway Homes failed to implement an effective system for monitoring platforms and the like throughout the lifetime of the Mitford Fields site.

“Bellway Homes is the fourth largest house builder in the UK and it would be expected the company has enough knowledge and experience to have been able to put proper controls in place.

“Mr Kersey was left in considerable pain as a result of the fall, but could easily have been killed, either by the impact or the concrete blocks as they rained down around him.”


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