Worker hit by falling insulation panel

Grant Prior 1 year ago

Two contractors have been sentenced after a worker was hospitalised for nearly two weeks after being struck by a 124kg panel.

An HSE picture of the accident scene
An HSE picture of the accident scene

The man was working as a lift supervisor at a site in Jesmond, Newcastle, on 22 January 2020.

He had been using a tower crane to lift a structured insulated panel (SIP). During the lifting operation, the SIP struck steel work and fell on top of the worker.

He spent 13 days in hospital following the incident after fracturing his collarbone, left shoulder blade, left ankle and left rib.

An HSE investigation found Tolent Construction Limited, the principal contractor, had failed to properly plan, manage and monitor the construction phase.

This resulted in a failure to ensure a suitable and sufficient lift plan was in place for the lifting of individual SIPs.

The lift plan failed to stipulate how the individual SIPs were to be safely lifted and failed to consider proximity hazards or how the SIPs would be adequately controlled during the lifting operation.

HSE’s investigation also identified Clad Build UK Limited (trading as SIP Build UK), as the contractor responsible for the design, supply and installation of the SIPs.

Clad Build UK Limited failed to plan, manage and monitor the work or to provide the necessary information and instruction to workers on how to prepare the SIPs for lifting.

Clad Build UK Limited also failed to ensure effective supervision and monitoring of work being undertaken by a sub-contractor working under its control and to comply with requests for information from the principal contractor.

Tolent Construction Limited – which went into administration earlier this year – pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £8,468.50 in costs at Newcastle Crown Court.

Recorder, James Wood KC, stated the company would have received a £1m fine if it had still been trading.

Clad Build UK Limited, of Normanton, West Yorkshire also pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Stuart Whitesmith said: “This case should raise awareness of the dangers of failing to properly plan and safely carry out this type of lifting operation.

“SIPs are increasingly used in the construction industry and all contractors should be aware of the need to suitably plan, manage and monitor their safe installation.”

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