Bradford construction company fined after worker loses eyesight

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A Bradford-based construction company has been fined £16,500 after an employee was injured at work, leading to significant sight loss in his right eye

Pearl Services UK Ltd was contracted to carry out the refurbishment of a retail store in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

On 23 February 2020, employees were erecting PVC hoarding within the store to separate the refurbishment work area from members of the public. An apprentice decorator who was helping joiners set up the hoarding, struck one of the PVC panels using a mallet causing it to splinter.

A fragment entered their right eye, causing serious injury and loss of sight. The incident has resulted in a life-changing injury to the person who will not regain full sight in his right eye, despite a number of post-accident operations.

A breach of health and safety regulations

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Pearl Services UK Ltd had failed to suitably plan, manage, and monitor the project.

The risk assessments and method statements had not fully identified the need to wear safety eyewear during the erection of the hoarding. In addition to this, the supervisor had failed to ensure that the documentation available on-site was communicated to the operatives before commencing work.

Although safety eyewear was available on site, the wearing of it had not been made mandatory, neither were checks carried out to ensure it was worn.

Final decisions

Pearl Services UK Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,778.40

After the hearing, HSE inspector Phil Redman, commented: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by providing suitable information, instruction, supervision and training to site personnel in respect of the fitting of the PVC site hoarding.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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