Thursday, 5 July 2012

Construction firms sentenced over worker's fatal fall

Two construction companies have been fined a total of £301,000 after a worker fell 22 metres to his death in Manchester.

The worker was working on the Leftbank riverside apartments in Manchester city centre - part of the Spinningfields development - when he was dragged over the guardrail on a scaffolding platform after becoming entangled in a chain.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the site's principal contractor and the steel-erection company following an investigation into the workers death.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the worker suffered fatal injuries after falling approximately seven storeys on 29 April 2004. Another worker was also injured and the incident has had a long-term psychological impact on him.

The worker had been using a chain from a scaffolding platform to adjust a steel beam three stories above him, when one of the supporting brackets gave way. He was struck by a falling steel block, became entangled in the operating chain, and was dragged over the edge of the scaffolding.

An HSE investigation into the incident found that the wrong studs had been used to secure the chain, and that the work had not been properly planned or monitored.

The sites principal contractors were found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc Act 1974, by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £333,866 towards the cost of the prosecution on 29 June 2012.

The steel-erection company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(2)(a) of the same Act by failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work. The company, which has gone into administration, received a nominal fine of £1,000 with no costs.

Neil Jamieson, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction confirmed that this was a major construction site and the work taking place should have been properly planned and managed. If the companies had acted differently then this accident could have been prevented.

Every employer has a duty to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons who may be affected are not exposed to risks to their health or safety

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

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