Bellway fined for second temporary works failure

BellwayBellway Homes has been ordered to pay nearly £50,000 after a bricklayer suffered back injuries in a three metre fall when a temporary platform collapsed.

Bricklayer Daniel Kersey, 64, was injured on the Mitford Fields development in Reading on 5th August 2013. He was working on a platform over a stairwell that was loaded with almost 70 concrete blocks. The structure collapsed and he sustained fractured vertebrae, deep cuts and bruising.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered failings in Bellway’s management of temporary works at the site.

Reading Crown Court heard that Kersey was working on the last of 64 Bellway properties at the site, and that the platform and methods used were consistent with others across the new build development.

However, HSE inspectors established that the platform was not built to an approved design or checked for stability prior to being used. It was structurally unsound and the weight of the blocks combined with Mr Kersey was too much, causing it to fail.

The bricklayer was unable to work for several weeks as a result of his injuries and has been left with regular back pains. He is also unable to lift heavy weights since the fall.

The court was told that this was the second time that HSE had prosecuted Bellway Homes for failings with temporary works. The company was also fined in April 2014 following an incident in December 2012 where a subcontractor fell through a stairwell when a temporary handrail gave way at a site in Shiremoor, North Tyneside.

Bellway Homes was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay a further £14,520 in costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two separate breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said: “The need to plan, manage and monitor temporary works on construction sites is well documented, yet despite this, and the earlier prosecution, Bellway Homes failed to implement an effective system for monitoring platforms and the like throughout the lifetime of the Mitford Fields site.

“Bellway Homes is the fourth largest house builder in the UK and it would be expected the company has enough knowledge and experience to have been able to put proper controls in place.

“Mr Kersey was left in considerable pain as a result of the fall, but could easily have been killed, either by the impact or the concrete blocks as they rained down around him.”

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