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Fri June 18 2021

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Builder fined after pensioners hit by falling site hoarding

1 May 13 A building contractor has been fined after two pensioners were hit by a hoarding that collapsed in high winds.

Gary Bluff Projects Ltd, of Paradise Square, Sheffield, was refurbishing a restaurant at Highcross shopping centre in Leicester when the incident happened on 22 February 2012.

The Health & Safety Executive today told Leicester magistrates the company had put up a hoarding made of plywood attached to metal fencing about 2m high. But the hoarding had not been properly designed and was unable to withstand high winds. Part of it blew over and hit an elderly couple as they walked past, knocking them over and leaving the couple in shock. The woman received hospital treatment for her injuries.

Gary Bluff Projects Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the safety regulations. It was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,735 and 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."

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