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Two Firms Prosecuted After Construction Site Accident

Two firms have been prosecuted by the HSE after a brick archway with a weight of approximately two tonnes collapsed and caused injury to two workers during a refurbishment project.

The two joiners were trying to shore up the arch as it had become unstable.  One of the workers suffered fractures to his foot and the other worker suffered back injuries in the incident which took place in Newcastle in the former toffee factory.

The incident happened on 15 February 2011.

Brins Construction Ltd, who was the project’s principal contractor and Cundall Johnston & Partners LLP, who were the designers were prosecuted by the HSE following an investigation which revealed that there were serious safety failings.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was told that the brick pillars were weakened as pockets had been created in the masonry which held steel beams.  The arch became unstable after the masonry was removed.  The company’s foreman had instructed the joiners to shore it up after the condition of the arch was noticed.

A plan of work was devised, but not reviewed by the company to find out if it was safe.

The archway collapsed on the two joiners as work was in progress.  They both suffered serious injuries.

When the investigation was carried out, it was found that the two firms had failed to provide adequate information to the workers.  They had also failed to manage work properly.

Brims Construction Ltd was fined £1,000 in addition to £5,000 in costs and Cundall Johnston & Partners LLP was fined £1,000 with costs of £7,000 in costs.