Principal contractor penalised for not spotting contractor error
A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries when the first floor of the building on which he was standing collapsed.
Manchester Crown Court heard how the defendant was the Principal Contractor (PC) for the construction of a new property in a town south of the city.
A contractor installed the first floor, however, a ‘gap’ left between the concrete beams on the landing was not identified by the PC site manager or the supervisor for the contractor.
On the 22 April 2014, a 47-year-old worker fell approximately 3.5m when the concrete block beneath his feet gave way and he fell between two concrete beams, suffering serious multiple fractures.
HSE investigators found the collapse occurred as a result of some of the installed floor blocks becoming displaced during the work on site because of the gap. The PC did not take all practicable steps to prevent danger to workers from collapse of a part of the new building.
PC has wide-ranging duties
The prosecution told the court that the company should have ensured that the floor was installed as per the design and failed to identify the gap which allowed the floor blocks to move.
- Huntsmere Projects Ltd – of Wilmslow, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £240,000 with £14,439.53 costs.
HSE inspector, Deborah Walker, said after the hearing:“As Principal Contractor, Huntsmere Projects Limited was responsible for safety on the site including ensuring proper planning and co-ordination on the part of all involved in the project.
Huntsmere Project Limited also had a duty to monitor and control the other contractors that it had engaged – the collapse could have been avoided had the company fulfilled its duties in its role as principal contractor”