20 April 2012

Firm fined for dropping ahu onto passer-by

THE company responsible for dropping an air handling unit on a woman waiting at a bus stop in 2008 has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £21,000 costs.
Concentra Ltd, based in Waltham Cross, was prosecuted by the HSE after inspectors found that the incident on 26 September 2008 was preventable.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard how a member of the public was waiting for a bus on York Road, London, when she was hit by the air handling unit being lifted to the fifth floor of Prospect House. The woman suffered severe multiple injuries including several broken bones and cuts and swelling to her head.

The building was being refurbished and instead of traditional scaffolding being used on the site, a mast climber had been erected, which allowed workers to be raised and lowered on the outside of the building.

The HSE investigation found that a crane and lifting slings were being used to lift a 380kg, 0.6m square by 2m high, air handling unit. The crane was not fitted correctly and during the lift, the unit hit a mast climber and was knocked out of its sling causing it to fall from height and hit the member of the public.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Bose Ogunsekan said: 'Concentra Ltd failed in its duty to manage the safety of persons affected by its activities. A high risk activity such as using a crane to lift this sort of load on the site should have been fully risk assessed during the planning stages of the project.

'In addition, further measures that would have also protected members of the public from site traffic, such as an alternative pedestrian route and a temporary bus stop elsewhere, could have prevented injury to passers by.'

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