Failures Severely Injured Worker

Inadequate safety measures result in work injury


An accident which rendered a man unable to work has left a building firm with a bill of almost £20,000 after it was convicted of safety failures.

John Doyle Construction was prosecuted because one of its workers, Stephen James, was seriously injured by steel beams which fell from a crane on a house-building site in London in September 2007. Mr James was working as a "slinger", directing the cranes.

Magistrates in the City of London were told that several 2.7-metre steel beams attached to a tower crane were being moved across the Wilton Plaza site in Victoria. The steel was being held by six-metre-long chains which came together as the load hit off a protruding bar on one of the floors of a building, allowing the beams to fall to the ground.

Mr James sustained several injuries and his right arm and leg were severely damaged. He also now has a metal plate in his head has not been able to work since the accident.

The lifting of the steel beams was not done safely and the building site was congested with material, the Health and Safety Executive reported.

John Doyle Construction, based in Hertfordshire, admitted breaking Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations and was fined £2,000 and told to pay costs of £17,466.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this shocking work accident.

“The construction industry is the industrial sector where a worker is most likely to be seriously injured or killed following an accident at work.

“Sadly, despite the well-known risks of the dangers of falling objects, employers still leave their workers exposed to the risk of a serious or fatal accident involving falling objects.”