Construction Firm Prosecuted After Baby Injured

Infant Hurt In Incident Involving Safety Barrier

24.09.2014

A construction firm has been fined after being prosecuted over an accident that saw a safety barrier blow over in the wind and hit an 18-week old baby in a passing pram.

The incident happened in Stirling in October 2011, with the baby boy being asleep in his pram while his mother drew cash from an adjacent ATM outside a supermarket. His 13-year-old sister was also present.

Kier Construction had put the barriers in place to keep the public out of a part of the supermarket that was being renovated, with banners being attached to these to inform customers that the store was still open for business.

One of these banners fell on the pram hood, which in turn collapsed on the baby below. The 13-year-old screamed to raise the alarm and the pair tried to free him, with the help of a passer-by.

The infant was taken to hospital, where it was found that he had been fortunate enough only to suffer bruising to his forehead. He was discharged later that day.

An HSE investigation found Kier had failed to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the use of barriers, which had stipulated that they be locked together and filled with water to prevent them blowing over in the wind.

In fact, in the previous month some barriers had toppled on a blustery day and blocks had been placed at their bases, but the company had still not added water for ballast.

Kier pleaded guilty in the hearing at Stirling Sheriff Court to a breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £4,000.

Speaking after the case, HSE principal inspector Isabelle Martin commented: “This incident could easily have been prevented. If assembled correctly the barriers could withstand winds of up to 58 mph. On the day of the incident wind speed was about 30 mph and should not have been an issue.

"Instead, because Kier Construction Limited failed to properly construct the barriers, a young baby was hurt. Luckily, his injuries were minor but they could have been worse."