A MANCHESTER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY was fined after loft conversion and ground floor extension work to a three-bedroom domestic property in Stretford caused much of the house to collapse.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 4 May 2020, Mughal Construction Limited had been carrying out a loft conversion when it collapsed, causing workers to flee from the site.

Loft Conversion Collapse

The loft conversion house had insufficient temporary supports and workers did not have sufficient skills, knowledge and experience, to carry out the work safely.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to properly plan, manage, and monitor the work. It had failed to provide adequate health and safety measures to prevent the risk of collapse at the property including sufficient measures to ensure it remained safe and stable.

Mughal Construction Limited of Levenshulme Trading Estate, Printworks Lane, Manchester pleaded guilty of breaching Regulations 13(1) and 19(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

HSE inspector, Phil Redman, said after the hearing: “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result of the collapse. Where contractors fail to take suitable and sufficient precautions whilst carrying out structural alterations HSE will take appropriate action including prosecution.”

Gurmit Properties Limited were fined today for safety breaches after a substantial part of a wall at a construction site at Barnsley Road, South Elmsall collapsed, seriously injuring a child.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, Gurmit Properties Limited (GPL) were the owners of the site at Barnsley Road, South Elmsall. The company had previously received a large delivery of aggregate, which was deposited on land next to the construction site. Officials from the local council attended the site and ordered the materials to be removed. GPL then brought the materials back on to their site storing them behind the wall.

On 7th February 2018 an eight-year old child was walking with her mother along Harrow Street, adjacent to GPL’s construction site, when she was hit by the collapsing wall. She sustained serious injuries, including crush injuries to her foot which resulted in the amputation of a big toe.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that GPL had not assessed the structural integrity of the wall to ensure it was safe to be used as either a secure boundary for the site or as a retaining wall for storing materials. When the materials were stored against the wall it failed and this led directly to the collapse and the injuries to the child.

GPL were a client and a contractor within the meaning of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and failed in their duty to ensure that the wall was either safe for use as a secure site boundary or as a retaining wall for storing materials.

Gurmit Properties Ltd of Albion Street Castleford West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £22,500 and ordered to pay £11,998.80 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Tilley commented: “ The company should have appointed a competent person to carry out an assessment of the wall at the start of the project to establish whether it was safe to use as a boundary wall and then carried out a similar assessment when the wall was then used as a retaining wall for storing materials.

“This incident could have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and adopting safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

As reported on HSE Media.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd were sentenced today for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion at residential premises in Mirfield resulted in the death of the homeowner.

Leeds Crown Court heard that, on 11 February 2019, West Yorkshire Fire service were called to a fire and explosion in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorks. The occupier, Elena Frunza, was discovered during a search of the property, whilst it was still on fire. She was taken to Pinderfields General Hospital where she died the following morning.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the source of the gas escape was identified as being from a fractured six inch cast iron main running under the carriageway to the front of the property. The investigation found that the main did not appear on Northern Gas Networks drawings and had therefore not been maintained in accordance with the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd of Thorpe Business Park, Colton, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5 million and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Casey said: “This incident, that put the lives of the elderly residents of a care home at risk and cost a homeowner her life, has highlighted a failure by Northern Gas Networks Limited to follow their own safety procedures, in this case requiring the prompt and effective investigation and correction of anomalies in their records. Other gas network operators should take the opportunity to learn from this tragic incident.”

As reported on: HSE Media

A contractor and a water management company have been fined after a worker was injured when he was hit by a 1.5 tonne water valve.

Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 June 2018, Northumbrian Water Limited had contracted JW Colpitts & Co Limited to connect a 1.5 tonne water valve in a confined chamber at Kielder Reservoir, Northumberland. The valve was suspended from a lorry mounted crane when it swung across the chamber and struck the worker. He sustained an open compound fracture of his tibia and fibula and was airlifted to hospital.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both companies had failed to risk assess the work and the additional hazards introduced by a change in the scope of work. They failed to implement suitable safety measures and safe systems of work; and provide adequate supervision to the workers.

Northumbrian Water Limited of Northumbria House, Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £365,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,360.69 and a victim surcharge of £120.00.

JW Colpitts & Co Limited of John Anderson House, Coniston Road, Blyth Riverside Industrial Estate, Blyth pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc. They were fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,452.22 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies must understand that work activities involving confined spaces, work at height and lifting operations must be subject to a robust risk assessment. Furthermore, risk assessments should be reviewed if the scope of work changes and additional hazards are introduced.

“Companies must also ensure that they have suitable safety control measures and safe systems of work in place to address the identified risks. Appropriate arrangements should be in place to supervise and monitor work.”

As reported on HSE Media.

A construction company and its groundworks contractor have been fined after unsafe excavation work left a worker with serious burns to his hand and arm.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 2 August 2018, a groundworker was preparing the ground to install a post to carry an Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera (ANPRC), at Twyford near Reading, Berkshire.

Initially, the worker dug by hand, however, due to the ground conditions and numerous hedgerow roots he started to use an 110V mechanical electric breaker.

The incident occurred when the groundworker struck a power cable supplying an adjacent British Telecommunications building. The voltage of the cable was 415v causing the ground worker to receive an electric shock that caused burns to one hand and to his opposite arm.

An Investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that site plans for buried cables had not been consulted and a cable avoidance tool had not been used to locate buried services in advance of carrying out the work. In addition, there was a lack of properly trained labour and supervision in place for the excavation works.

The principal contractor on site had failed to plan, manage and monitor the excavation works and also failed to provide adequate supervision for the ANPR installation project.

CLC Contractors Limited (the Principal Contractor), of Unit 2 Northbrook Industrial Estate, Vincent Avenue, Southampton, SO16 6PB pleaded guilty to breaching 13 (1) Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and were fined £400,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £5,300.00.

Paul Gale, Company Director of PAG Building Services Ltd of 2 Moore Crescent, Netley Abbey, Southampton, Hampshire pleaded guilty to Section 37(1) Health and Safety Work Act 1974.

Due to the seriousness of the offence the case was referred to Aylesbury Crown Court for sentencing. Paul Gale was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 150 hour of community service. HSE was awarded costs of £7,200.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector John Caboche commented: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. In this instance, readily available buried service records were not consulted, and a cable avoidance tool was not provided to the groundworks team. Utilising these simple steps would have prevented this serious incident.”

As reported on HSE Media

A builder has been jailed for more than three years after he killed one of his workers while demolition a garage.

Paramjit Singh, 48, of Iris Road in Southampton, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following a two-week trial at Winchester Crown Court on October 2021.

He was sentenced on December 03rd to three years and three months in jail for the charge. He was also sentenced to 20 months in prison after admitting to breaching sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and his sentences will run concurrently.

The incident happened in Chilworth in 2019 when Singh had been hired to demolish Birchdene, on Ling Dale. At the time, Singh was the owner and manager of SAB builder and employed staff to work as “odd job men”.  The day before the incident took place Singh had demolished all but one side of the garage on the ground and then returned on July 16, 2019, to complete the job.

Singh arrived at around 9am to demolish the final wall before jumping into a digger and moving towards the wall.

However, when the wall was demolished Kulwant Singh Athwal, one of Singh’s workers, was standing on the other side and the structure collapsed on top of him.

Singh is understood not to have known where his team were when he began working with the digger.

A post mortem examination found that Mr Athwal died of his injuries, which were consistent with being crushed by a heavy object.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Gunson said:

“This was an extremely tragic case resulting in the completely avoidable death of Kulwant Singh Athwal.  It is a tragedy for all involved. We hope that lessons will be learned that prevent this from ever happening again.”

The court also heard how Singh’s public liability and CS card were expired after SAB Builders went bankrupt in 2015 and the company ceased trading.

HSE inspector James Lucas said: “All demolition work, however large or small, has the potential of serious risk if it is not properly planned and controlled.

“Paramjit Singh failed to prepare a written plan for the demolition of the building or any site-specific risk assessments. In this case, simple control measures and safe working practices, such as excluding people on site from danger zones with physical barriers, could have saved a life.

“There are no winners here. The victim, Kulwant Singh Atwal, so sadly lost his life because of the absence of basic safety measures. The perpetrator, Paramjit Singh, will spend time in prison and will always carry the heavy burden of having caused another person’s death.  HSE would like to encourage all small builders to ensure they know how to properly plan, manage and monitor all construction work they undertake. The HSE website provides a wealth of information, some of it translated into other languages.  In addition, HSE wants to stress to all workers from minority communities or anyone from any background who may feel vulnerable, that health and safety law is there for their protection, just as much as any other workers. HSE always focuses on making workplaces safer and healthier, whoever is at risk.”

Hovington Limited was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling piece of plant machinery while working on a construction site in Rotherham.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 4 February 2019, groundworkers, including the injured person, were breaking out ground using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to an automatic quick hitch, as part of trench work to install new drainage of the site at Arconic Forging and Extrusions, Sheffield Road, Ickles, Rotherham. The breaker became detached from the quick hitch on the excavator. The breaker fell, narrowly missing one ground worker, and landed on the injured worker’s right foot. He sustained injuries which led to amputation of his right leg below the knee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to ensure that a safe method of work was in place when working in the vicinity of an excavator, there was no defined segregation between people and plant, and no use of a vehicle plant marshal to ensure the machine was isolated before pedestrians enter the working zone of the excavator. The company also failed to implement a dedicated bucket changing area for the changing of attachments to minimise the risk of attachments falling onto pedestrians.

Hovington Limited of Chichester Street, Rochdale pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £34,000 and ordered to pay £1,935.84 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Trisha Elvy commented: “This incident could have easily resulted in a fatality and could have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“There should be suitable, defined safe systems of work so that persons who need to work in close proximity to excavators can do so safely.”

As reported: HSE Media

DB Cargo has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act for failing to protect the safety of its workers following an incident at its Dollands Moor freight yard in 2018.

Terry Currie, then aged 43 and working as a shunter, suffered life changing injuries, including the amputation of his right arm, when a freight train collided with his vehicle on a level crossing at the yard on 4 September 2018.

The sentence was passed by District Judge Barron at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution by rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

ORR’s prior investigation found DB Cargo had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks associated with the movement of people and trains within the yard, and as a result a safe system of work was not implemented to protect workers as they moved around the yard.

Ian Prosser CBE, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR said: “These were serious failings by DB Cargo to protect its workers and ensure a safe practice of freight train movements.

“There were clear and obvious risks of serious injury due to the lack of appropriate ways of working. [This] sentence shows how important it is that operators have appropriate practices to ensure worker safety.

“Following the accident, DB Cargo has taken action to mitigate risks but had it properly assessed the risk of a collision beforehand, Mr Currie need not have suffered life changing injury.”

In his remarks, Judge Barron said there was an obvious risk of a collision between people and trains within the yard, which had been foreseen as long ago as 1991 when the yard was designed, before it became operational in 1994. At that time, between eight and 11 track workers or shunters were killed on the railway each year.

Until 2010, safety documentation included a requirement that buggies crossing the sidings should use one of the two subways that were provided at each end of the yard to allow staff access to individual sidings without crossing any tracks.

By 2012, this requirement was no longer included. By 2014, only one of the two subways remained open, but lighting in this subway had failed. Use of this subway was not enforced, so most workers chose to drive across the level crossings instead. There were no barriers, signs or written instructions indicating that vehicles were not allowed to use the level crossings unless signals were being used to stop any approaching trains.

DB Cargo were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £33,768.61 in costs.

 

As reported on: SHP

Drayton Manor Park Ltd (in administration) has been sentenced following the death of a schoolgirl on its Splash Canyon water ride in 2017.

Stafford Crown Court heard how, on the 9 May 2017, 11-year-old Evha Jannath was on a school trip when she fell out of a raft on the Splash Canyon water ride into the ride’s water trough. She was able to wade to the conveyer belt at the end of the ride and climb onto it, but then fell into a section of deeper water and drowned.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the risk assessment in place was not suitable and sufficient as it did not properly assess or address the risk of passengers being ejected/falling from the raft, despite previous similar incidents. There were inadequate control measures in place to detect a person in the water as the CCTV covered only half the ride and the CCTV monitors were not suitable for observing passenger behaviour appropriately. In addition, there was no system at the park to rescue anyone who had fallen into the water.

Drayton Manor Park Ltd (in administration), Tamworth, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1 million.

Drayton Manor Park has changed hands since the incident and is now owned and operated by Drayton Manor Resort Ltd.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Lyn Spooner said: “As a result of Drayton Manor’s failings 11-year-old Evha Jannath, died at the end of what should have been a fun day out.

“The risks from ejection from the raft had been evident to Drayton Manor for some time, yet they still failed to take the action that could have prevented Evha’s death.

“This tragic event should never have happened and my thoughts and the thoughts of HSE remain with Evha’s family and friends.”

As reported on: HSE Media

Specialist plant hire company, Ruislip Plant Ltd, has been fined after a worker was fatally injured whilst undertaking maintenance on a piling rig.

Reading Crown Court heard that, on 13 May 2014, Ben Wylie, was assisting the Ruislip Plant Ltd Director Mr Noel Kearney (since deceased) with the maintenance of a high-pressure grease track adjusting mechanism at a construction site in West Street, Maidenhead. During the process, the grease nipple assembly and a stream of high-pressure grease was forcibly ejected from the mechanism and struck Ben Wylie in the shoulder and chest causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the components had been forcibly ejected on the previous day and had sustained damage in that event, reducing the pressure at which it would subsequently fail. Once the fitting had been ejected, it should not have been refitted. Despite the fittings having been previously ejected and damaged, Mr Kearney attempted to modify and refit the grease nipple and adaptor to the high-pressure system. He then began to re-pressurise the tracks by pumping in grease using a hand operated grease gun. The pressure built in the system and at a critical point the damaged and modified components were again ejected. A pressure test with all suitable safeguards was required in these circumstances but there was no safe system of work during which resulted in the modifications to the grease gun bringing Ben Wylie into the danger zone.

Ruislip Plant Ltd of Lea Crescent, Ruislip, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £99,000 and ordered to pay costs of £116, 973.36.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “HSE guidance is very specific on how this work should be undertaken and previously ejected or damaged parts must not be reused as they were in this case.
“This incident could have been avoided if Ruislip Plant Ltd had instead undertaken a risk assessment and devised a safe system of work. That safe system of work would necessarily have ensured that new parts were used, and that the safety procedure of a pressure test was performed. However, a new component was not used in this incident and the safety procedure was not adhered to.

“That failure to adhere to the correct procedure for pressure testing was directly causative of this incident. No control measures were put in place by Ruislip Plant Limited and that sadly led to the death of Ben Wylie.”

As reported on: HSE Media.