Cowlin Construction and a pair of subcontractors have been ordered to pay a total of £232,000 in fines and costs after two workers on an Exeter site suffered severe injuries when the platform they were working on collapsed and fell four storeys down a lift shaft.
Exeter Crown Court heard that the men were working on a new student accommodation scheme for Exeter University at the former Elmfield Nursery in New North Road when the incident happened in February 2008.
Cowlin Construction was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs by the court.
Prestoplan Ltd, which provides timber frame buildings, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 towards costs and Somerset Carpenters Ltd, which supplied labour at the site, was fined £50,000 with £20,000 costs.
Somerset Carpenters were served with a prohibition notice by the HSE following an inspection at the site which banned them from working until safety measures had been put in place to stop workers falling down the lift shaft.
A wooden platform was then erected over the shaft but two weeks later this collapsed, sending Ricki Slocombe,35, and Matthew Blackmore, 29, both from Bridgwater, falling to the ground floor.
Blackmore suffered a broken back and Mr Slocombe suffered two broken legs and had to use a wheelchair for several months. He has been unable to return to work since.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Simon Chilcott, said: “This was a terrifying incident for the two men which could easily have led to their deaths.
“As it was, they suffered severe injuries, which were life-changing in the case of Mr Slocombe.
“Contractors and employers must make sure they have taken all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment for workers to work in and that any temporary structures are secure.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
The one thing that stands out in this case was the fact it had been previously noted as a possible occurrence but several members of the story failed to act in the safest manner, how can it be that after time was spent making it safe it still failed?
I do not know the full in’s and outs of the case but it is sad state of affairs when this happens let alone when time was spent preventing it. Two families were effected in a serious way, but take the time to think about the companies involved in the case, how would that effected their business and staff? This case took FOUR years to reach a verdict do not let yourself be tangled up in a legal battle, give us a call.