Glasgow firm fined after employee killed during refurb project

Barbour-LogoA Scottish construction firm has been fined after falling materials struck a worker and killed him during refurbishment work at a retail unit.

J B Barbour and Co, of Lawmoor Street, Dixons Blazes Industrial Estate, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

It was fined £85,000 with over £89,000 in costs.

Stafford Crown Court heard how Michael Kelly, 26, was clearing debris from the dismantling of shop front units on 06 July 2011.

However, the fastenings to the signage and fascia assembly suspended above failed, causing one end to drop down to the shop floor level and strike Mr Kelly, resulting in fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found J B Barbour and Co had failed to properly assess the supporting arrangements for the signage and fascia, assuming they were supported by steel hangers and that it would be safe to remove the shop fronts.

The court heard how the incident could have been prevented if work had been properly planned, assessed and supervised.

HSE said the company’s method statement had “sufficient information to implement some control measures that could have prevented the incident.” However, neither the site team nor management recognised the need to follow their own guidance after receiving a holding request had been made by their client that affected the sequence of work.

HSE inspector Grayam Barnes said: “The company as a whole failed to recognise the danger of working underneath a suspended object. This simple mistake led to the unnecessary death of Michael Kelly, a valued employee and a young man who was well respected both within his local community and as a musician in a local band.

“The incident could have easily been avoided by simple measures involving little, or nominal cost.”

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