Two companies have been fined £180,000 after a structural engineer received serious crush injuries when a bundle of scaffold tubes rolled onto his legs while he was visiting a client’s construction site
Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 15 September 2015, the engineer, accompanied by two managers at the site in London, approached four bundles of scaffold tube stored on the ground (one of the bundles had been stacked on top of the other three) which had been left unattended.
The top bundle was disturbed, rolled off and fell onto the engineer’s lower legs. It took several attempts to free him from under the bundle. The engineer suffered fractures to both ankles and a number of fractures on his right leg.
The scaffold bundles were delivered earlier that day and belonged to scaffolding firm PHD Modular Access Services. St George City, part of the Berkeley Group, was the principal contractor for the site, where demolition activities were taking place within a very confined footprint.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that PHD failed to ensure that control measures specified in the company’s risk assessment – material storage area to be fully segregated using physical barriers – were in place to prevent access by unauthorised persons.
St George City had signed off on PHD’s storage requirements and should have been conscious of the practical difficulties concerning deliveries and storage due to the confined nature of the site. On the day of the incident, St George site management had become aware that the scaffold materials had not been segregated, however, no action was taken.
PHD Modular Access Services pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,777.99.
St George City of Berkeley House pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,830.79.
HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “The contractors knew that it was a congested site with large demolition machines tracking around and as such required careful planning with regards to material arrivals and storage. This incident could have been easily prevented had suitable barriers been provided.”