Construction firm prosecuted after falling roof sheets narrowly miss karting party

 A construction company has been fined after metal sheets crashed through a karting track roof – narrowly missing members of the public. 

The incident happened at The Raceway on the Park Lane Trading Estate, Oldbury, on 16 April 2014, where Barnsley-based KSMT Ltd had been employed to overclad the roof. 

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court heard today a sub-contractor had lifted new metal roof sheets, which weighed three quarters of a tonne, on to the roof using the forks of a telehandler. 

However, the sheets and one of the forks fell off and through the existing corrugated roof before crashing through a raised section of the kart track inside and coming to rest on the lower section of track.

Ten racers were using the circuit at the time, although thankfully none were in the area where the materials landed narrowly having passed through seconds earlier. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the lifting operation was poorly planned. KSMT, as the main contractor for the work, failed to assess the risks or produce a method statement or lifting plan. Metal was loaded directly on to metal, increasing the risk of slipping, and the forks of the telehandler were not wide enough to take the load. 

KSMT Ltd, of Fall Bank Industrial Estate, Dodworth, Barnsley, was fined £5000 and ordered to pay a further £500 in costs with a £500 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. 

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: “This incident was entirely preventable. It could have been avoided in any number of ways; by securing the load to the forks, using a pallet to reduce the slip of metal on metal, using wider forks, a pallet, crane or a scaffold, or ensuring the forks were locked on. 

“No thought was given to any of these methods, nor of lifting the materials when the track was unoccupied. There were ten racers on the track at the time who were within seconds of being struck – with potentially devastating consequences. 

“This case shows the importance of properly planning lifting operations and highlights the duty of the principal contractor on a site to manage their subcontractors.” 

Guidance on the use of lifting equipment can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/lift-equipment.htm 

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace   health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk  
  2. Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation involving lifting equipment is properly planned by a competent person; appropriately supervised; and carried out in a safe manner. 
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

Article source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/construction-firm-prosecuted-after-falling-roof-sheets-narrowly-miss-karting-party/