Two tonne brick archway collapses at Newcastle toffee factory…
Two companies have appeared in court after an archway made of brick and weighing almost two tonnes collapsed injuring two workers at a toffee factory in Newcastle.
The men were injured while working on a refurbishment project at the factory on 15 February 2011. Both of the accident victims were joiners who had been attempting to shore up the arch after it had previously shown signs of instability when some masonry was removed from a support pillar. After the collapse one of the men broke his foot while the other injured his back.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided to prosecute the principal contractor for the refurbishment job and the designers after their investigation revealed that safety oversights had been a contributing factor to the collapse.
Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was told that although the company had been alerted to the dangers of the unstable pilalr supporting the archway, they failed to review the plan devised by the joiners to ensure that their intended system of work. didn’t put the joiners in danger. HSE inspectors also found that the the work on the arch was not managed or supervised adequately.
The contractor for the refurbishment project was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007. The designers responsible for the work on the archway also pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(6)(c) of the same legislation and were fined £1,000 with additional costs of £7,000.
HSE Inspector Keith Partington commented after the hearing:
“Fortunately the injuries suffered by the workers were not serious. However, if could have been a lot worse as around two tonnes of brickwork fell down when the arch collapsed.
“This incident could have easily been avoided. Firstly, if the designers had ensured sufficient information was available in the drawings it would have alerted those carrying out the work to the potential dangers to start with. The contractor should also have properly planned and managed the work.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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