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Builder’s fall saved by the joists

30 Nov 12 A Leicestershire building contractor has been fined after an employee fell five metres and was then struck by a wooden board and concrete blocks after a partially-built floor gave way.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, fractured his elbow and nose in the incident at Brook Street, Shepshed on 26 January 2012.

Leicester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday (29 November) that he was helping to construct the second floor of a new build house for Hinckley-based W J Edge & Sons Builders Ltd when it gave way after being overloaded with concrete blocks. The joists collapsed onto first floor joists that also gave way.

The lower joists helped to break his fall, but he still fell to the ground with the materials, some of which landed on top of him. He was unable to return to work for six weeks.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted his employer for failing to prevent the incomplete floor from being used and overloaded.

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W J Edge & Sons Builders Ltd, of Henson Way, Sharnford, Hinckley, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

HSE inspector Martin Waring said after the hearing: "This could have been a far more serious incident had the lower joists not helped to break the worker's fall to the concrete below. He was also fortunate that a wooden board that landed on top of him provided a degree of protection from the falling concrete blocks.

"Had the company properly planned the work and prevented the incomplete floor from being accessed and overloaded, then the incident could have been avoided. It's essential that a build sequence is closely managed and that floor sections are properly constructed prior to working on them."

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