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Carillion hit with £130,000 HSE fine after scaffolder’s fatal fall

Carillion Construction and Febrey have been jointly prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following a scaffolder’s 19m fall at Swansea’s Meridian Quay apartment development in January 2008.

Russell Samuel from Porth, a self-employed father of two, suffered multiple injuries during his fall including a fractured skull. He was taken to a local hospital but died two days later on 24 January 2008.

Mr Samuel had been contracted by concrete structures firm Febrey Ltd to work as a scaffolder at the Swansea site.

Swansea Crown Court heard he was dismantling a scaffold ladder access platform ready for the installation of the roof and staircase on the fourth floor when he fell about 19m and narrowly missed carpenter Raymond Haines who was working directly below.

Carillion was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,500 in costs. Febrey has become insolvent since the indicent. The judge fined the firm £85 but said he would have fined it £250,000 before it became insolvent.

The HSE investigation found that Febrey “had inadequate and ineffective health and safety management arrangements in place and there was little or no communication, information and instruction provided to its workforce”.

It added: “The management team on site was not adequately trained in health and safety, despite repeated warnings by its health and safety consultants, and this led to persistent and systematic failures to control work at height risks at site.

“The failing of its director was also found to have had a direct bearing on the sequence of events that led to the death of Mr Samuel.”

Lead contractor Carillion Construction had “failed to ensure the safety of its employees and those under its control”, added the HSE. “The company, as principal contractor, was made aware of and had detected many failings in the safety management of Febrey Ltd. However, it failed to gain improvement from Febrey on many occasions.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells said: “There were recurrent indicators that should have alerted Carillion to Febrey’s persistent and systematic failures throughout the whole project.

“Yet Carillion failed to adequately address Febrey’s significant failings. As the principal contractor on site, Carillion had a clear duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction work.”

Carillion Construction Ltd of Birch Street, Wolverhampton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Febrey Ltd, of Burcott Road, Bristol admitted breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Febrey director, Michael Febrey, of Rockleaze Road, Bristol pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and will be fined at a later date.

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