Costain fined £1.2m after workers struck by collapsed cage

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Costain has been fined £1.2m after a mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) with two workers inside was struck by a collapsing reinforcement cage during the construction of a road

Costain and Brenbuild have been fined after two workers on a MEWP were working on the structure, when it collapsed.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how in the summer of 2015, to support the construction of the A556 bypass in Cheshire, work had started to build a pier designed to eventually support a bridge. This work involved erecting a steel cage.

On 3 August, two workers on a MEWP were working on the structure, when it collapsed. The cage crashed into the MEWP, causing it to fall on its side.

The first employee sustained life changing head injuries and the second a leg fracture.

A third worker who was nearby escaped injury by moving away just in time.

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered there was no temporary support for the reinforcement cage during construction of the central pier.

Costain was principal contractor and Brenbuild was appointed by Costain to construct seven bridges and an underpass.

Costain and Brenbuild were both aware the cage was visibly leaning and that workers on site had raised concerns.

Neither company recognised the inherent instability of the reinforcement cage or took measures to ensure the work on the MEWP could be carried out safely.

Brenbuild failed to stop work to prevent injuries from the risk of collapse and to implement control measures to prevent instability.

While, Costain failed to plan, manage and monitor construction of the central pier.

Brenbuild pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,730.11.

Costain pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.2m and ordered to pay costs of £21,644.51.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Deborah Walker, said: “This incident could have been easily prevented and the risk of collapse should have been identified by both companies.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place, this incident would not have occurred, and the two workers would not have suffered these injuries.”

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