A six-meter metal beam that fell from a building’s sixth level and struck a worker before collapsing down a busy City of London street has resulted in sentences for two construction businesses.
The 32kg beam hit a 38-year-old man while he was on a third-storey access platform, breaking six ribs and fracturing three vertebrae. The self-employed sub-contractor was in hospital for a week and unable to work for two months.
He was working on the construction of the seven-storey South Place Hotel on Wilson Street, EC2, when the tragedy occured on 5 October 2011.
McClaren Construction Ltd of Brentwood, Essex, was the major contractor while John Doyle Construction Ltd, of Welwyn Garden City, which is currently in liquidation, was a sub-contractor.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted both companies for safety violations and both were punished at Southwark Crown Court on 10 December.
Furthermore, neither organisation took any measures to ensure that no one was operating beneath the locations where the framework structure was being removed.
McClaren Construction Ltd, of Kings Road, Brentwood, Essex, was fined £22,500 with £14,854 in costs after admitting a violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
When found guilty of a violation of the same law, John Doyle Construction Ltd, registered with administrators in Temple Quay, Bristol, was fined £1 with no order for costs.
HSE inspector Eileen Gascoigne said: “What transpired at the building site that day had the potential to harm one or more workers and members of the public passing close by. It was absolutely fortunate fortune that the results were not even graver.
“This might have been avoided at any time. The dangers were foreseeable and the procedures that needed to be in place are well-known in the industry and were readily implemented subsequently.
When McClaren was the lead contractor, they should have checked John Doyle’s control proposals and implemented their own procedures for making sure the work was safe for other contractors and members of the public.
“John Doyle was also an experienced contractor and yet it too failed on an important safety issue.”