April 18, 2019

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Workers injured after floor collapse

A construction company has been fined after two workers were injured when they fell through a ceiling at a site in Watford.

Workers were injured after floor collapsedLuton Magistrates’ Court was told how, on 6 December 2017, four bricklayers were working on a new build of three terraced houses, when they gained unrestricted access to a timber joisted floor. The floor collapsed. Two of the four workers managed to jump off during the collapse whilst the other two fell and suffered serious injuries.

Both employees are still unable to return to full time work. One spent two days in hospital after the incident and the other is still recovering from his injuries; it is not clear whether or not his injury will be life changing.

Investigating, the HSE found that the Principal Contractor, S McMurray Ltd, had failed to safely install joist hangers correctly. There was no other structural support arrangement in place, such as propping the first floor from underneath. The floor was also overloaded with blockwork.

S McMurray Ltd, of Sacombe Road, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and was fined £16,500 with costs of  £1,236.60.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed said: “Structural stability of floors under construction must be carefully risk assessed to ensure the appropriate control measures are in place to prevent collapse. This incident could have been prevented had there been a sufficient risk assessment in place and the appropriate controls implemented.”

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Presumably HSE inspectors get a card with this comment printed on for courtroom steps: “This incident could have been prevented had there been a sufficient (sic) risk assessment in place and the appropriate controls implemented.” This comment reinforces the belief in some quarters that “everything” must have a “risk assessment”. Not accurate, and which the HSE is trying to step back from. The article suggests that joist hangers were incorrectly installed (have seen this in an occupied property!) being a significant factor. So lack of supervision, competency and safe systems were the key components. Concentrate on proper solutions rather than… Read more »