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Three companies have been fined a total of over £1million after workers fell around 16 metres when a temporary platform collapsed.

A carpenter and a steel-fixer were working on a temporary platform above the opening to a stairwell on the 9th floor of a construction site when the structure collapsed, plunging them around 16 meters onto a partially constructed concrete staircase. The steel-fixer survived the fall, but his injuries were so severe he was off work for nearly three years. Sadly the carpenter did not survive the fall. In addition, an engineer’s assistant who was working on the stairs below, was seriously injured by falling debris.

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation into the incident fond that platforms had been constructed throughout the site by using timber joists supported by unsuitable joist hangers with plywood fixed on top. The platforms were not built to an agreed safe design, neither were they inspected by those responsible for the site, even though they were crucial to the health and safety of the workers involved.

The Principle contractor; St James Group Ltd pleaded guilty of breaching Regulation 22(a) of the CDM (Construction, Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and fined £600,000. The contractors responsible for building the platforms; Mitchellson Formwork and Civil Engineering Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 13(2) of the CDM Regulations and were fined £400,000. In addition, RGF Construction Ltd; the site agent who assisted with managing the work was fined £230,000 for breaching Regulations 13(2) and 28(2) of the CDM Regulations 2007.

Karen Morris, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, said: “The risks of falling from height are well-known, and the risk of joist hanger failure is well-documented. This tragic incident illustrates what can happen if temporary works are not properly organised. All those who have a role in planning and managing work on site must take responsibility for ensuring that serious risks are properly controlled.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident at work, you could be entitled to claim for compensation. Employers have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workforce, and that includes making sure that working practices are safe and proper management is in place. Contact us today for a no obligation discussion about your case, so that we can help you decide the best way to take your case forward and get you the compensation you deserve.