William Eichler 17 January 2019

Council fined after labourer ‘trapped’ under falling roofing material

A council has been fined nearly £30,000 after a pack of roof trusses fell on a labourer who was working for the local authority.

The self-employed labourer was working for two self-employed bricklayers sub-contracted to Darlington Borough Council when the roof trusses fell on him, trapping him by the head and arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was an ‘overall failure’ to adequately monitor work activities at the site at Allington Way, Darlington.

The investigation revealed there were ‘inadequate’ arrangements for the storage of roof trusses and a failure to manage the amount of materials on site. There was also a failure to plan for parking of vehicles on site.

The council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £28,000 with £1,648.45 in costs.

‘It is vital that work activities on construction sites are properly planned, managed and monitored to prevent issues like this developing on site – the failures found here ultimately led to the roof trusses falling onto the labourer, causing serious injuries,’ said HSE inspector Andrea Robbins.

‘This could have been prevented,’ she added.?

Paul Wildsmith, managing director of Darlington Borough Council, said: 'On behalf of the Council, I would like to apologise to the injured person and his family.

'We take health and safety very seriously and always strive to achieve the highest standards.

'We encountered a number of challenges in relation to this construction project due to the ground conditions at the site. We accept that we did not respond to those challenges as effectively as we could have, and we deeply regret this.

'As soon as this incident happened, we began a thorough internal investigation and have put measures in place to ensure this does not happen again.

'We have also co-operated fully with the HSE investigation and accepted their recommendations and pleaded guilty to the charge brought against the council.

'We are extremely sorry for what happened and we hope the person who was injured continues to make a good recovery.'

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