Construction Dangers

A contractor last week pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 after an employee was tragically killed as a result of a collapsing wall.

The employee had been working on a basement conversion when he was buried and crushed by gravel and clay weighing between three and five tonnes.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the works were not adequately planned. The earth that remained following a temporary underpinning of the walls was not properly supported, and at the time of the incident no measures were in place to prevent falls into the excavation. The contractor had failed to ensure that his employees were trained, qualified and competent to carry out underpinning.

After the hearing the HSE said;

“Basement conversions involving underpinning are significant engineering projects and should be planned and managed by competent people. As a part of this, a competent temporary works engineer should design an appropriate sequence of works, and the work should be actively managed by a person who had the necessary knowledge, training and experience to ensure it is carried out safely.”

This incident highlights the need to have effective worker consultation and communication with all employees to ensure they understand the control measures that should be in place to prevent harm.

If you have been injured as a result of an accident at work, please contact Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP who can provide specialist Employer’s Liaibility advice.