Firm fined over £250,000 after death of worker

A London firm has been ordered to pay over £250,000 in fines and costs after a worker was killed by a large concrete beam falling on him whilst he was working on a construction project.

Bouygues UK Limited has been fined over £250,000 after one of its workers was killed in the accident at work on 10 November 2008.

On the day in question, Mr Guilherme de Oliveira, 44, was working on a construction site at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex. He was employed through an agency as a banksman and was fixing beams across supporting towers to form part of the concrete structure for the new building. The concrete beams were lifted from ground level to their necessary position by cranes and Mr de Oliviera and a colleague climbed the structure to unhook the chains from the concrete beam. However, a gust of wind suddenly hit the crane as Mr de Oliveira went to unchain a beam. The gust of wind pushed the crane round and caused the beam to swing into Mr de Oliveira, crushing him between the concrete beam and the tower he was working on. Mr de Oliveira died later, despite medical attention.

The Health and Safety Executive were subsequently informed of the accident and sought to investigate. The investigation found that there was a warning system in place which monitored wind speeds but that this system was not being monitored by a manager (as it normally was) at the time of the accident. The HSE therefore concluded that there had been serious breaches of health and safety standards which had caused or contributed to the accident. This included a failure to plan and supervise the work. The HSE therefore recommended a prosecution of the firm as a result of the breaches.

The case came before the Chelmsford Crown Court on 26 February 2014, with the firm charged with a breach of Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. Bouygues UK Limited pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 as a result.

Speaking after the judgment, HSE inspector Mr Dominic Elliss stated: “Lifting operations can be highly hazardous and the appropriate standards are clearly set out in both the regulations and industry guidance. There is no excuse to ignore them and I would urge all those undertaking such work to review the effectiveness of their own controls to ensure safety on construction sites.”

There has apparently been no comment from Bouygues UK Ltd or its criminal defence solicitors

Redmans Solicitors are personal injury solicitors and employment law solicitors based in London

Redmans Solicitors

Redmans Solicitors

Commercial law, employment law and litigation firm based in Richmond, London
Redmans Solicitors
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