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Contractor fined after worker injured in platform collapse

A Hertfordshire contractor has been fined £70,000 after a worker was seriously injured when a temporary platform collapsed.

The incident occurred at a landmark development at St George Wharf in Vauxhall, south London, on 10 February 2009.

Noel Doyle, 32, from Hammersmith, suffered serious injuries including a broken vertebrae and fractured pelvis and ribs when a temporary platform he was working on collapsed.

J Reddington Ltd, of Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts, which was responsible for the structure, was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £22,193 in costs on 28 June after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Doyle was helping two other JRL employees, one of whom was a foreman, to raise a temporary work platform inside a concrete shaft to house a stairwell within a building under construction.

The platform was lifted from one floor to another by a crane using four lifting chains before being locked in place in the shaft to enable the next level to be constructed.

According to the investigation, the crane operator was then instructed by the foreman to take the chains away while one of them was still attached and as the platform was lifted by only one corner it disintegrated.

Of the three workers on the platform, two managed to jump to safety but Mr Doyle was unable to do so.

An HSE investigation identified that the incident was caused by the failure of the foreman, who was also acting as a banksman, to ensure that all the lifting chains had been properly disconnected from the platform before instructing the crane driver to take them away.

The HSE said JRL failed to plan, manage and monitor construction work carried out under its control in a way that ensured that, so far as was reasonably practicable, it was carried out without risks to health and safety.

After sentencing, HSE inspector Loraine Charles said: “Noel sustained serious injuries as a result of a fall that was entirely preventable had work involving temporary platforms been better planned and managed by JRL.

“He fell a significant distance and could easily have been killed, as could his two colleagues who were with him on the platform.”

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