John Doyle has been ordered to pay over £15,000 in fines and costs after a worker fractured his pelvis and chest when fell from unstable scaffolding at the Hilton Hotel site at Liverpool One in July 2007.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard the Hertfordshire contractor was moving a scaffolding tower on the site when it overturned and fell down an embankment.
Employee Gerard Baccino was removing lifting chains from the top of the scaffolding at the time and fell about 6m to the ground when it toppled over.
Mr Baccino, a 49-year-old father of three, suffered back injuries in the fall, as well as the fractures to his pelvis and chest. The Health and Safety Executive said the incident has had “a long-term psychological effect” on him and he had been unable to return to work.
Inspector Mark Cuff said: “This incident was entirely avoidable and was caused by John Doyle Construction asking Mr Baccino to work at the top of a structure that was inherently unstable.
“The scaffolding tower was being used during the construction of concrete columns, used to support the building’s floors. It was specifically designed to be lifted as a single unit, but the company decided to partially dismantle it and move it in two parts.
“John Doyle Construction should have considered the implications of not following the procedures for lifting the scaffolding. Its failure to do so resulted in one of its employees being seriously injured, and it was only by chance that there wasn’t a fatality.”
Mr Baccino had only been working for John Doyle Construction for a few days when the incident happened.
He said: ” We were moving the scaffolding tower to a new location on the site when one of the lifting chains got caught.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain since the incident, and will never be able to do manual work again. Construction companies have to start listening more to their workers and stop thinking that they know all the answers.
“I hope they will learn from what has happened to me and improve health and safety in the future.”
John Doyle pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £13,244.