Two construction firms paid the price (nearly £60,000) for an employee’s broken pelvis after safety failures led to a 600kg glass panel falling on him.
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted London-based Brookfield Construction UK and fined it £18,000 with costs of £9,962 and its sub-contractor Scheldebouw UK must pay £20,000 in fines with costs of £10,000, after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act.
In March 2006, glass panels were being removed from the roof of a Multiplex Construction UK site in Kensington and Chelsea, when John Rooney, a Scheldebouw UK employee, was injured by a pane of glass crashing down on him.
Three glass panels were being lowered onto a lorry (owned by Benchmark Scaffolding Ltd) parked next to John Rooney’s Scheldebouw UK lorry.
Rooney decided to climb onto the other firm’s lorry to try to help with the glass panes but, shortly after climbing onto the back of the Benchmark lorry, a 600kg pane of glass fell on him and broke his pelvis.
Lisa Chappell, HSE inspector, stressed the importance of educating staff on health and safety matters. She said 'This incident once again highlights the need for contractors to ensure that all aspects of lifting and removal operations are fully planned and measures to work safely are clearly communicated to all workers. Had these simple steps been taken, the injuries to Rooney could have been avoided.'
Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states 'It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.'
Advise on lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations 1998 can be found at lifting operations guidance