Poor method statement leads to costly injuries for Newcastle firms

by Alex on August 6, 2013

Post image for Poor method statement leads to costly injuries for Newcastle firms

Photo: Phillie Casablanca

Two Newcastle-based firms were fined a total of £14,000 after an unsafe plan of work led to a two tonne brick archway collapsing on two joiners, injuring them both.

The workers were shoring an arch during the refurbishment of a former toffee factory in Ouseburn when the incident occurred in February 2011. One fractured a foot, while the other suffered from back injuries.

After an investigation into the incident, HSE prosecuted the principal contractor and the project designer for multiple safety failings. Newcastle Crown Court heard how the brick pillars supporting the archway had been weakened after gaps were cut into the masonry to hold steel beams, creating instability in the structure.

A foreman employed by the contractor directed the two workers to shore up the arch, and devised a plan of work with them. The method statement, however, was not reviewed by a manager from the contracting firm, leaving them liable for the injuries that occurred.

The court was told how the designers had also failed to notify the contractor that removing masonry would cause the archway to become unstable, nor had they included any warnings in their plans.

HSE inspector Keith Partington criticised both firms, commenting that the incident could have easily been avoided. “If the designers had ensured sufficient information was available in the drawings it would have alerted those carrying out the work to the potential dangers to start with,” he said. “[The contractor] should also have properly planned and managed the work.”

The contractor was was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007, while the designers were fined £1,000 with costs of £7,000 on the same charge.

Ensuring that your projects are well-managed and officially documented can help prevent costly accidents like this one. Create safe plans of work with HANDS HQ’s online tools and discover why writing RAMS documents has never been easier.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: