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July 30, 2020

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Costain fined £1.2m after MEWP collapse

Two construction companies have been sentenced after a mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) collapsed during the construction of a road bridge.

Costain has been fined £1.2million after a worker sustained life changing head injuries and a second suffered a leg fracture when their MEWP was struck by a collapsing reinforcement cage during the construction of a road bypass. A third worker nearby escaped injury by moving away just in time.

A second firm, Brenbuild Limited, also pleaded guilty and was fined £80,000.

Work was being carried out to build a pier designed to eventually support a bridge on the A556 bypass in Cheshire, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told. This involved erecting a steel cage. On 3 August 2015, two workers on a MEWP were working on the structure, when it collapsed. The cage crashed into the MEWP, causing it to fall on its side.

The HSE’s investigation found there was no temporary support for the reinforcement cage during construction of the central pier. Costain Limited was principal contractor and Brenbuild Limited was appointed by Costain to construct seven bridges and an underpass.

Costain Limited and Brenbuild Limited were both aware the cage was visibly leaning and that workers on site had raised concerns. Neither company recognised the inherent instability of the reinforcement cage, or took measures to ensure the work could be carried out safely. Brenbuild Limited failed to stop work to prevent injuries from the risk of collapse and to implement control measures to prevent instability. Costain Limited failed to plan, manage and monitor construction of the central pier.

Brenbuild Limited of Parkway Business Park, Scunthorpe pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,730.11.

Costain Limited of Vanwall Business Park, Maidenhead, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.2million and ordered to pay costs of £21,644.51.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Deborah Walker said: “This incident could have been easily prevented and the risk of collapse should have been identified by both companies.
“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place, this incident would not have occurred, and the two workers would not have suffered these injuries.”

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Tim Griffiths
Tim Griffiths
3 years ago

Can anybody explain why it takes 5 years to conclude a case like this? I know that some work has been done since it happened to highlight the issue with reinforcing cages but finalizing the court case much quicker would help to get the message across and save the risk of other people suffering from the same sort of accident.