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Laing O'Rourke pays £90,000 for safety failure

Laing O'Rourke Construction must pay nearly £100,000, after one of its employees, William Taylor, fell more than three metres during the construction of concrete stairs in an apartment block.
William Taylor sustained multiple serious head injuries, and narrowly escaped falling three floors to the base of the building. Two other workers also escaped injury while working in the same unprotected area.

The fall happened on August 13, 2007 at Liverpool One, the new shopping and entertainment development in Liverpool city centre. Laing O'Rourke Construction is the principal contractor on what has been described as Europe's largest city centre regeneration project.

Laing O'Rourke Construction was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs at Liverpool crown court on January 6. The company pleaded guilty to a charge brought under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Section 2(1) for failing to ensure the health and safety of their employees during the construction work.

Health and Safety Executive principal inspector Nic Rigby said: 'It was down to chance alone that this incident did not result in a fatality. That risk would have been avoided had the planning and management of the work being carried out not been so deficient. The accident occurred because the company failed to make adequate risk assessments and plan a safe system of work.'

Rigby added: 'This accident happened on the third floor of the building. Had the accident not occurred this same system of work would have been repeated on every one of the 12 floors of the building. A fall from that height would clearly have had much more serious consequences. This prosecution should act as a warning to all those involved in the management of construction work'.

7 January 2009

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