No safe method results in concrete floor collapse during hospital refurb

A developer has been fined after a worker suffered major internal injuries when he fell through a floor and was hit by a falling concrete slab.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard that Andrew Wilding and his colleague were using pneumatic drills to break up an unsupported concrete floor. They were on the first storey of a former hospital outbuilding at Plas Maldwyn site in Caersws, which was being converted into residential accommodation.

During their breaking work in May 2008, the floor split and both men fell through to the ground below. A section of the broken floor slab fell on Wilding, causing life-threatening internal injuries.

A HSE investigation discovered that developer Gruffydd Charles Beynon-Thomas had failed to ensure the safety of workers by not properly planning structural work at an early stage.

Gruffydd Charles Beynon-Thomas, trading as Plas Maldwyn Developments of Ty Gwyn Road, Caersws, Powys, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £7,500.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said: “People carrying out building refurbishment must ensure that the structural work is properly planned and advice is sought from a competent person, for example a structural engineer, at an early stage.”

“The consequences in failing to recognise the risks inherent in this type of work can be significant. This was a major incident that could easily have been fatal”

Source: HSE

LST Comment: All demolition work should have a written plan which aims to minimise the risks to all persons that are likely to be affected. This should not only include the workers, but also members of the public, visitors and other contractors for example. It is clear in this case that even the risks to just the workers had not been fully considered and a suitable and sufficient Safe System of Work had not been developed. Time spent discussing and developing appropriate methods of work, and communicating them to the workers, is time well spent and should always be a critical part of the management of tasks.


January 28, 2013 | Categories: News |
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