Construction Companies Fined after Worker Fatality

A pair of construction companies has been fined a total of £65,000 ($103,000) after a British man was killed when a steel beam weighing more than a ton fell on him while it was being unloaded from a lorry. Construction safety is a problem worldwide.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced its intention to prosecute Fisher Engineering and CM Structural Service as a result of an incident causing the death of French national Hugues Makambila who was working as a cleaner on the construction site at Harlequin Avenue, Brentford.


A lorry load of steel beams arrived on site and parked adjacent to a pedestrian walkway in an area not designated for unloading. An HSE investigation found that a company director of CM Structural Services Ltd had noticed a steel beam was hanging over the right side of the lorry, but no measures were taken to restrain the load or to prevent the beam from falling.


CM Structural Services Ltd began unloading the steel using a forklift truck but it did not put any measures into place to prevent people walking down the pavement nor did it put up any signs warning people that unloading was taking place.


During unloading, a steel beam weighing 1.382 tons fell from the lorry onto the pedestrian walkway and onto Makambila, from Bordeaux, who was on the pedestrian walkway of the site. He died instantly.


Fisher Engineering Ltd was responsible for the manufacture, delivery, and installation of the structural steelwork. In turn Fisher Engineering had contracted CM Structural Services Ltd to erect the steelwork.


Fisher Engineering Ltd, of Ballinamallard, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland was fined £50,000 ($80,000) and ordered to pay costs of £16,595 ($26,000). CM Structural Services Ltd, of Killynure Road, Carryduff, and Northern Ireland was fined approximately £15,000 ($24000) and ordered to pay costs of £12,692 ($20,000).
According to Inspector Lisa Chappell, "This tragic incident was easily preventable. The risks involved in the handling and delivery of steel stock are well known to those in the industry.


"Appropriate measures to control these hazards should have been in place, including ensuring there is effective communication between the duty holders responsible for planning and managing deliveries, inspecting deliveries upon arrival and providing a clearly defined exclusion zone where unloading can be carried out safely.(WCxKit)


"These measures are neither costly nor time consuming, yet the failures of the companies involved in this incident contributed to the death of a respected worker whose family continues to grieve the loss of a son, brother, and husband."


Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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