A contractor has been fined after two pensioners were hit by a hoarding that collapsed in high winds.
Gary Bluff Projects Ltd, of Sheffield, was refurbishing a restaurant at Highcross shopping centre in Leicester when the incident happened on 22 February 2012.
Leicester magistrates heard that the firm had put up hoardings consisting of plywood attached to metal fencing around two metres high around the outside of the restaurant.
But it had not been properly designed and was unable to withstand high winds.
Part of the hoarding blew over and hit an elderly couple as they walked past, knocking them over and leaving them in shock. The woman received hospital treatment for her injuries.
Gary Bluff Projects Ltd pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,735.
It was also ordered to pay a total of £500 compensation to the two victims.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mhairi Lockwood said: “The company had a duty to its workforce and members of the public to ensure the hoarding around the restaurant was safe.
“It failed to design the hoarding in such a way that it could withstand high winds. Once the plywood was attached to the metal fencing it effectively turned it into a sail.
“This couple were lucky not to have been more seriously injured. As it was they suffered injuries and shock that could and should have been avoided.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
LST Comment: Any design should be calculated to ensure that it is suitable & sufficient, furthermore the site staff that while installing any designed element of work, be it fencing , hoarding or otherwise, they should ensure that they follow the stipulated design in its entirety. Should this be prove to be impractical, then site staff should always seek guidance from the designer, rather then having a go and doing what they think is best’.