2 August 2010
Companies fined £195,000 for air conditioning engineer's death
AN ARCHITECT'S practice and a construction company have been fined a total of £195,000 following the death of an air-conditioning engineer in 2005.
London-based Express Park Construction Company (EPCC) pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to safely manage subcontractors working for it.
Oxford Architects Partnership of Oxford pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13, and 14, of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, which require designers to take safety considerations into account.
EPCC was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £68,000 and Oxford Architects Partnership was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,000 at Bristol Crown Court.
The court heard that on 26 January 2005 David Cairns (64) was working for EPCC sub-contractors H&F Air Conditioning Ltd, at the newly-built Exchange building at Express Park in Bridgwater, Somerset.
Mr Cairns was working on the air conditioning plant, which was built on a platform accessed via a ladder at the edge of a flat roof. The roof only had a low parapet, which was not high enough to prevent Mr Cairns falling 9m to the ground.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Sue Adsett, said: 'This is a tragic case where both the failings of the construction firm and the architects led to Mr Cairns' death.
'While it is rare for designers to be charged with breaching health and safety legislation, they must be aware they can be held responsible where bad design is an important contributory factor to a work-place fatality.
'Designers must ensure that plant and equipment can be accessed safely, and that safety harnesses are only used as a last resort.'