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Berkeley company hit for £130k fine after scaffold tube crush

11 Dec 18 Berkeley Group company St George City has been fined £130,000 after a structural engineer visiting one of its sites was crushed by scaffold tubes.

Scaffold tubes
Scaffold tubes

The scaffolding firm was also fined £50,000 over the incident that occurred in September 2015.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the engineer, accompanied by two managers at the site in London, approached four bundles of scaffold tube stored on the ground. One of the bundles had been stacked on top of the other three.  The top bundle was disturbed, rolled off and about a tonne of tubing fell onto the engineer’s lower legs.

It took several attempts to free him from under the bundle. The engineer suffered fractures to both ankles and a number of fractures on his right leg.

The scaffold bundles had been delivered earlier that day and belonged to scaffolding firm PHD Modular Access Services Ltd. St George City Ltd was the principal contractor for the site, where demolition activities were taking place within a confined footprint.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that PHD failed to ensure that control measures specified in the company’s risk assessment – material storage area to be fully segregated using physical barriers – were in place to prevent access by unauthorised persons.

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St George City had signed off PHD’s storage requirements and should have been conscious of the practical difficulties concerning deliveries and storage due to the confined nature of the site, the HSE said. On the day of the incident, St George site management had become aware that the scaffold materials had not been segregated but took no action.

PHD Modular Access Services Ltd, of Oxford Road, Denham, Uxbridge pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,777.99.

St George City Limited, of Berkeley House, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,830.79.

HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said after the hearing: “The contractors knew that it was a congested site with large demolition machines tracking around and as such required careful planning with regards to material arrivals and storage. This incident could have been easily prevented had suitable barriers been provided.”

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