Three injured as scaffolding collapses in Reading

Three injured as scaffolding collapses in Reading

‘Urgent inquiry needed’ says Unite, as Firefighters confirm nobody was trapped under scaffolding which collapsed at the site of an old shopping centre in Reading.

 

Photo from: @l3uddz

Firefighters used thermal imaging equipment to look for survivors, with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service confirming on social media that is ‘being supported by an Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) from Bucks & MK Fire’.

The incident occurred shortly after 11:15 on Thursday 1 August in Garrard Street. It has been reported three people, including a site worker and two passers-by, have been injured and taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Incident commander for South Central Ambulance Service, Tony Heselton, said the worker suffered a head injury. The other injured parties were a couple, one of whom suffered an ankle injury and the other was in suspected shock.

Upwards of ten calls were received to report the incident.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said that is sent five crews to the scene and advised the public to avoid the area.

The site, described locally as one of Reading’s ‘worst eyesores’, is being demolished as part of a major redevelopment in Reading town centre.

Urgent inquiry needed

In order to learn the lessons from the collapse, trade union Unite believes that the HSE must swiftly undertake an open and transparent inquiry into the collapse.

Unite National Officer Jerry Swain said: “Everyone must be very grateful that the injuries reported so far have not been serious. If fatalities have been avoided, that is only through luck.

“A full inquiry must not just include the immediate reasons for the scaffolding collapse but also examine whether the work had been sub-let, were all workers on site properly employed, and did they all have the appropriate skills and training.

“It is essential that we learn the lessons from this accident to prevent similar serious incidents in the future.”

Scaffolding contractor McGee has also confirmed it is investigating the incident.

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Worker fined after apprentice fell from forklift truck

Fine after apprentice fell from forklift truck

An employee has been fined after an apprentice suffered serious injuries when he fell from a potato box lifted by a forklift truck.

On 30 July 2018, Mr Francis Yardy used a forklift truck with an attached potato box to lift an apprentice electrician to a height of four metres to carry out electrical repairs at a potato storage warehouse near Ely. This was inherently unstable and the apprentice fell to the floor. The apprentice was admitted to hospital and sustained a punctured lung and broken ribs.

The HSE’s investigation found the apprentice’s employer had carried out a risk assessment and purchased suitable equipment for work at height, but that this was not used by the employee in charge of work at the site.

Mr Francis Yardy of Regent Avenue, March, Cambridgeshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000 with costs of £560.40.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Graeme Warden said: “Unfortunately, forklift trucks are frequently used with potato boxes or pallets attached to lift people to work at height. This incident serves as a reminder of the potentially disastrous consequences.”

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Volvo fined after ‘life changing injuries’ suffered in crush incident

Vehicle Repairer fined after ‘life changing injuries’ suffered in crush incident

Volvo Group UK Limited has been fined after an employee was crushed by a truck, leading to life changing injury.

Glasgow Sheriff Court was told on 7 June 2016 an employee of Volvo Group UK Limited was testing the brakes of a low-loader truck unit and trailer at the Cardonald depot, in Glasgow. He had raised the trailer off the ground using a pit jack. He did not apply the truck handbrake or use any wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle rolling. Whilst adjusting the brakes at the first axle, the truck unit rolled forward causing the jack to slip off the axle of the trailer, roll towards him and strike him on the body. He was crushed against a set of steps in the pit, fracturing his spine.

The HSE investigation found that Volvo Group UK Limited had failed to provide a sufficient number of wheel chocks for use by its employees and failed to provide information, instruction, supervision and training of its employees in their use. Volvo Group also failed to provide a suitable induction of the employee in safe working practices, it was found.

Volvo Group UK Limited, of Wedgnock Lane, Warwick pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £13,333.33.

Paul MacArthur of Safety and Health said “Those in control of work have a responsibility to produce safe methods and systems of work and, to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers.

“If suitable safe systems of work had been in place prior to this incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee would likely have been prevented.”

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Site welfare facilities were inadequate

Site welfare facilities were inadequate

A Stockport construction company has been prosecuted after failing to ensure suitable welfare facilities were provided for workers on site.

R & S Builders (Mcr) Ltd had been issued with multiple Improvement Notices, following an inspection by a HSE inspector at the company’s site at Great Underbank, Stockport on 7 July 2018. The company subsequently complied with the Improvement Notices that had been served for fire safety and respiratory risks, but failed to comply with the minimum standards of health, safety and welfare on site.

An HSE investigation found that welfare facilities on site had been in a poor condition, in particular there being no hot or warm running water, and that the company did not provide evidence of compliance with the Improvement Notice within the deadline. R & S Builders (Mcr) Ltd was previously subject to enforcement action by HSE in 2017 that included an Improvement Notice in relation to the absence of adequate welfare provisions at a different site.

R & S Builders (Mcr) Ltd of Sovereign House, Stockport Road, Cheadle, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 21 of the Health and safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 13(4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,814.90.

Paul MacArthur of Safety and Health said : “It always amazes us that construction companies do not maintain welfare after its been provided. generally we see that welfare, whether hired in or available on site is rarely managed. What is more surprising to us is that the end user is prepared to accept this and that without intervention the situation rarely changes”

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