The employees of two separate construction companies suffered serious personal injury at work recently in an incident in Liverpool, at the John Moores University, involving 250 tonnes of concrete that collapsed suddenly when a scaffolding failed.
Personal injury solicitor experts say that the incident occurred during the construction of the new Art and Design Academy at the university. Workers had been constructing the atrium of the building by pumping wet concrete up to the third floor when the scaffolding that had been erected to support the structure suddenly collapsed; according to the Government’s Health and Safety Executive, which investigated the incident, several employees of both companies sustained serious injuries during the collapse after tumbling nearly ten metres into the wet cement underneath them, with injuries including broken bones and also burn injuries to their skin and eyes caused by caustic substances within the cement itself.
HSE Investigators found that the two firms that had been tasked with constructing the atrium, sub-contractor MPB Structures Ltd and general contractor Wates Construction Ltd, had permitted the scaffolding to be built not from a finalised design but a preliminary one that did had not included crucial information. As a result, the scaffolding failed because it proved incapable of supporting the massive 250 tonne weight of the wet cement.
After a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court where the HSE successfully prosecuted both companies, Wates Construction and MPB Structures were told to pay identical fines of £50,000 after the companies entered pleas of guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. Both companies were fined £50,000 each after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Construction is one of the most dangerous lines of work to be employed in, according to industry experts, with nearly 30,000 serious injuries and fifty fatal ones occurring in the UK every year.