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Bam Construct fined £15k over 'serious' incident at Willow Place

Bam Construct has been fined £15,000 after a subcontractor was hit by a forklift truck during the building of the new £22.5 million Willow Place Shopping Centre in Corby.

The Health and Safety Executive described the incident as “very serious” and said it would “expect better” from such a large firm.

Corby Magistrates’ Court heard the man – a fitter with subcontractor Pyrotect – had been carrying a piece of plasterboard and walking in the opposite direction of the forklift truck when he was unexpectedly reversed over by the vehicle in August 2007.

The fitter had been working under the control of Bam, installing the fire protection system on site.

He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery having suffered a broken tibia and fibia in his left leg, wounds to his left foot, a broken left ankle and dislocated a bone in his right leg. Almost two years on he has still not returned to work, the HSE said.

Inspector Mhairi Lockwood said: “This was a very serious and preventable incident which has resulted in a man being away from work for nearly two years.

“This company obviously has policies in place but it is vital that they are properly considered, implemented and monitored at site level and throughout the life of the project.

“BAM are one of the big players in the construction field and we would expect better, especially as they have been advised previously on workplace transport at this site.”

Bam was also ordered to pay £13,540 in costs in addition to the fine. It had pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work act 1974.

A spokesman said it had pleaded guilty to the charges “at the earliest opportunity” and seriously regretted the injuries sustained by the worker.

He said:”The magistrate acknowledged that, ‘there was no systemic breach of health and safety procedures. The company had procedures in place and this was an isolated breach of those procedures. The company properly reported the incident and responded properly.’ He went on to accept Bam is a company where health and safety was and remains a high priority.

“While we are widely recognised as having one of the best health and safety records in the construction industry, any accident is one too many and we will continue to strive hard to improve our safety record.”