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Carillion fined £130k for fatal scaffold fall

26 Nov 12 Carillion Construction and one of its subcontractors have been fined after a scaffolder fell 19 metres to his death at a Swansea building site.

Carillion Construction Ltd and Febrey Ltd were jointly prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the Meridian Quay apartment development in Swansea on 22 January 2008.

Self-employed Russell Samuel from Porth was contracted by Febrey to work as a scaffolder.

Swansea Crown Court heard that he was dismantling a scaffold ladder access platform ready for the installation of the roof and staircase on the fourth floor, when he fell approximately 19m to the ground below, narrowly missing carpenter Raymond Haines, who was working directly below.

Mr Samuel, aged 40, suffered multiple injuries during his fall, including a fractured skull. He was taken to Morriston Hospital but died two days later on 24 January 2008.

The HSE investigation found that Febrey had inadequate and ineffective health and safety management arrangements in place and there was little or no communication, information or instruction provided to its workforce. The management team on site was not adequately trained in health and safety, despite repeated warnings by its health and safety consultants, and this led to persistent and systematic failures to control work at height risks at site.

Carillion Construction failed to ensure the safety of its employees and those under its control. The company, as principal contractor, was made aware of and had detected many failings in the safety management of Febrey. However, it failed to gain improvement from Febrey on many occasions.

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Carillion Construction Ltd of Birch Street, Wolverhampton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined a total of £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,500 in costs.

Febrey Ltd, of Burcott Road, Bristol admitted breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. As the company has since gone into liquidation, it was fined a token £85. However, judge made it clear that he would have fined the firm £250,000 if it was still trading.

Febrey director Michael Febrey, of Rockleaze Road, Bristol, was also charged and he pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells said: "There were recurrent indicators that should have alerted Carillion to Febrey's persistent and systematic failures throughout the whole project. Yet Carillion failed to adequately address Febrey's significant failings. As the principal contractor on site, Carillion had a clear duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction work.

"Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry and this is the tragic reality of what can happen when adequate arrangements are not in place to manage health and safety.

"Mr Samuel's children and family will have to live with the consequences the defendants' failings for the rest of their lives."

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