Platform Collapse Leaves Worker Seriously Injured

Building Firms Fined After Accident Leaves Man With Broken Bones

10.01.2014

Two construction companies have received five-figure fines after an accident in 2009 left a worker with a number of serious injuries.

Principal contractor St George South London (SGSL) was given a £50,000 penalty and ordered to pay costs of £27,386, while subcontractor J Reddington of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire had already been handed a £70,000 fine during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court in June 2013.

SGSL - which is based in Fulham, London - had been running a site at St George Wharf in Vauxhall when the incident occurred.

Neil Doyle, aged 32, suffered a fractured pelvis, broken vertebrae and ribs, shattered right elbow and damage to his internal organs when he fell ten metres from a temporary working platform that had collapsed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the accident was the result of numerous safety flaws.

Mr Doyle - who has been unable to return to work in the construction industry - was helping two colleagues to raise the platform inside a concrete shaft. It was being lifted by a crane, before being locked into place at each different level.

According to the HSE, the foreman "inadvertently" instructed the crane driver to lift the chains away, even though one of them was still attached.

Having been jerked upwards in one corner, the platform collapsed and Mr Doyle fell to the concrete floor below with debris from the structure falling on to him. His two co-workers had managed to jump to safety.

The HSE said the work had not been properly planned and the main contractor had failed to ensure all subcontractors were working safely.

HSE inspector Loraine Charles insisted companies need to do more than simply check that construction firms have provided risk assessments and method statements. They must also pay close attention to the details in these documents.

"In this case, SGSL concerned themselves more with the existence than the content of the subcontractor safety documents, and although they themselves carried out regular site safety inspections, all of these were superficial and failed to identify significant systemic failures," she commented.