Two employers were fined as a result of an incident at the Springbank Industrial Estate, Belfast, during the lifting of a hollow core concrete floor slab into one of the industrial units under construction, according to the Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSINI).
Gerald Quinn, trading as QFix, was fined a total of £3,000 ($4,924) after pleading guilty to a pair of breaches of health and safety legislation. Tully & Sons Ltd.’s fine was for a total of £15,000 ($24,617).They also pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation arising from the same incident. (WCxKit)
The heavy concrete floor slab shattered in mid air causing a 19-year-old worker to fall four meters, leading to serious injuries. The concrete slab was being lifted at an angle to allow it to be placed through an opening in the steel work, which was less than the length of the slab. To achieve this, the lifting beam and clamps were arranged so a section of the slab was unsupported, i.e. it formed a cantilever. According to safety experts, slabs should not be lifted in this manner and are not designed to act as a cantilever; therefore, it was a foreseeable event that the slab could fail.
Tully & Sons Ltd. was the Principal Contractor on site and Gerald Quinn (QFix) acted as the sub-contractor to the flooring manufacturer and was responsible for the lifting and fitting of the concrete floor slab.
After this recent hearing, Denise Donaghy, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said, “This accident happened due to an absence of planning and coordination between the principal contractor and the sub-contractor responsible for the placing of the slabs. When lifting and fitting pre-cast concrete flooring units, it is important that the lifting operation is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner. It is also important that suitable and sufficient steps are taken to prevent falls.”
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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