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Fine for Chalcroft Ltd

2 Workers sustained serious injuries after falling 8 metres from a temporary frame that gave way whilst they were on it.
Spencer Gosney and Matthew Brewer had been sub contracted by the principal contractor, Chalcroft Ltd to construct a concrete core at a new build factory at the premises of GlaxoSmithKline in Coleford.

In August 2009 the 2 men were constructing the core and utilising a piece of climbing form work which is a kind of frame that is used to set the concrete. As the height of the tower increased, the form work was raised and re-fixed in place to enable the men to work on the top and to set more concrete.

However an anchor point that was holding the section of form work that the men were on dislodged prior to the concrete being poured. Although the men realised what was happening and attempted to resolve the situation, they used a bolt that was not fit for this purpose at an acute angle in its place. The inappropriate bolt could not withstand the concrete’s weight and snapped. The platform tipped and caused both men to fall to the ground.

Mr. Gosney sustained cuts to his head and leg as well as some bruising to internal organs. Mr. Brewer broke his pelvis and hip so badly that he has been unable to return to work.

A HSE spokesperson commented that working at heights is known to be inherently dangerous and needs to be correctly planned and managed if serious injuries such as these are to be avoided. All work should be checked in order to reduce falls. Critical safety parts of temporary equipment must be checked before it is used.

This accident happened because no planning or checking took place but also because Chalcroft had no formal procedures for checking safety-critical equipment. A check would have shown that the working platform was insecure; it this failing that has caused serious injuries to 2 men.

Chalcroft Ltd received a fine of £14K and a cost order for more than £23K after admitting breaches of H&S legislation.