Somerset

Creagh Concrete Products Ltd fined after worker death

A construction company has been fined after a carpenter was killed when a slab of concrete fell on him while working at Bath University.

Philip Hames, from Weston-super-Mare, was killed instantly in the accident in November 2007.

His employer Creagh Concrete Products Ltd of Toomebridge, County Antrim, was found guilty of a breaching a section the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It was fined £100,000 and told to pay £140,000 costs, at Bristol Crown Court.

BAM Construction was found not guilty of breaching the act at the court on Thursday.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, said Mr Hames was working on the construction of a new accommodation block on the Claverton Down campus when he adjusted a metal prop without realising it was securing a concrete plank above him.

Rise in deaths

The plank dropped on to Mr Hames, killing him instantly and narrowly missing a co-worker, the HSE said.

HSE Inspector Ian Smart said after the hearing that there had been a rise in the number of deaths caused by collapsing structures during building work over the past few years.

"Mr Hames was an experienced carpenter but Creagh failed to recognise the scope of the work he was undertaking and failed to ensure he was made aware of how critical the placements of the props were and the fact they should not be adjusted," he said.

"Therefore, Mr Hames would not have understood the outcome of his actions.

"It was foreseeable he and other workers on site would seek to move props and robust steps should have been taken to prevent this."

He said that the published standard for temporary works had been revised since the incident.

"It provides additional clarity on respect of the safeguards associated with the temporary support of structures," he said.

"It is crucial that this guidance is followed by the construction industry."

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