Injuries to a worker caused by falling scaffold fittings could have been avoided if the correct risk assessment and lift planning had been carried out
Fines have been levied against two companies after a building worker was injured by falling scaffold fittings. The 44-year-old woman was struck by the equipment at a building site in Dorchester.
According to the case, a mobile crane was being used by employees of Carter Training Ltd. An attachment holding 500 scaffolding fittings emptied the contents some 10.5m below. The fittings, which weighed 2kg each, hit the worker. As a result she suffered two fractures to her left shoulder blade, a fracture to her left collar bone, a cut to the back of her head, and bruising.
Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how the stillage attachment used on the crane was not suitable for heavy lifting, nor should it have been used to move large amounts of scaffolding.
Furthermore, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation said risk was placed on workers below the crane when the scaffolding was lifted directly above them.
Failure to assess the risk
CDM principle contractor Zero C Holdings Ltd was found to have failed in its duty to conduct an audit of lifting plans. This, the court heard, meant the firm failed to adequately manage the risks associated with lifting the scaffold.
Both firms were fined after pleading guilty to breaching building regulations. Zero C Holdings Ltd received a £145,000 fine for breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The firm was ordered to pay costs of £3,500.
Carter Training (services) Ltd was fined £18,000 for breaching Regulation 8 (1) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, and was ordered to pay costs of £3,500.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicole Buchanan said: “The worker is very lucky that her injuries were not life threatening. Both Zero C Holdings and Carter Training put a number of workers at risk of harm when they failed to plan or identify the risks of heavy lifting.
“This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly plan all lifting operations before work is carried out to manage the risk of injury to workers. Lifting directly above workers is inherently unsafe and should be avoided wherever possible”