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Wates and MPB Structures pay over £170,000 after concrete collapse

Two building firms were ordered to pay over £170,000 in fines and costs when more than 250 tonnes of wet concrete collapsed injuring seven construction workers

Main contractor Wates Construction and concrete subcontractor MPB Structures were fined £50,000 each after the scaffolding holding up the concrete collapsed and the seven men fell about 10 metres onto wet concrete containing pieces of metal and wood. The workers injuries included cement burns to their skin and eyes and bone fractures in the incident on 19 September 2007 at Liverpool John Moores University.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the scaffolding had been erected from a preliminary design which did not contain all the information needed to put up the scaffolding safely. The companies failed to ensure the scaffolding was checked before allowing the concrete to be poured, the Health and Safety Executive told the court.

Both companies admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by putting workers at risk.

HSE Inspector Susan Ritchie said: “The companies should have made sure they had an appropriate design they could use to build from, and that the structure was inspected before the concrete was poured. Instead, more than 250 tonnes of concrete was poured onto scaffolding incapable of taking such loads and the inevitable happened – it collapsed. These basic errors could easily have resulted in several people losing their lives. This incident should act as a stark reminder that if you fail to plan and manage projects properly then there is a real potential for things to go seriously wrong.”

As well as the £50,000 fines, the two firms were also ordered to pay costs of £35,591 for Wates Construction and £35,362 for Corby-based MPB Structures.

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