An Essex firm which makes precast concrete stairs has been fined for safety failings after four employees fell when a stair mould collapsed beneath them at the company premises in Earls Colne.
The workers – who do not wish to be named – suffered injuries including bruising, a dislocated shoulder, a fractured right arm, a twisted ankle, plus knee and back pain following the incident on 7 August 2013. They have all since returned to work.
Milbank Concrete Products Ltd was today (3 June) prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the stair mould was inadequately supported during the work.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard that the employees were working on a new precast concrete staircase and standing on a supporting frame – known as a ‘ski-slope’ – which can be adjusted for height and angle depending on the specification of stairs.
As concrete was being poured into the mould to create the stairs, five props supporting the ski-slope collapsed, causing the four men to fall from heights ranging from one metre to three metres.
Milbank Concrete Products Ltd of Lancaster Way, Earls Colne Business Park Airfield, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex, was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay £1,357 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Keith Waller, said:
“This incident could have been more serious. It could also have been easily prevented if it had been properly planned, assessed for risks, and sufficient training given.
“Having not carried out a proper risk assessment, Milbank Concrete Products therefore failed to have a safe system of work in place for the job and four workers were injured as a result.”
Health and safety advice about working at height can be found on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm
Notes to Editors
- 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
- Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”
- Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press