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March 29, 2021

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Working platform failure leads to fines

Two construction companies have been sentenced following an incident were a working platform failed and a bricklayer using the platform was injured.

Dere Street Homes Limited were acting as principal contractor and provided components for a proprietary polypropylene working platform at a new build at Marley Fields, Wheatley Hill, County Durham. SGS Construction and Design Limited were acting as a contractor and supplied workers to erect the working platform. The working platform failed and a worker was injured. The incident happened on 1 July 2019.

The HSE found that a number of components were missing from the working platform. Although previously workers supplied by SGS were formally trained in the erection of the components to form a safe working platform, the worker who erected the failed platform had not received adequate training. The signing off as a safe working platform had previously been undertaken by a site manager working for Dere Street Homes. When this manager left, a number of months prior to the incident, the inspection and signing off of the working platform was no longer undertaken.

Dere Street Homes Limited of The Farm House, Hedley Hill Farm, Cornsay Colliery, County Durham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and was fined £38,000 with costs of £5,367.30.

SGS Construction and Design Limited of Laburnum Avenue, Blackhill, Consett, County Durham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,683.60.

After the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Rob Hirst commented: “Although the worker did not suffer life changing injuries, there was a potential for more serious injury. Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure that workers are adequately trained, properly supervised, and work activities are appropriately monitored.”

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