Lucky to be alive: steel falls nine floors onto construction workers - but company escapes with "token" £1 fine

Workers injured by falling bit of metal

Workers injured by falling bit of metal

First published in News
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TWO construction workers were lucky to be alive after being struck by a length of steel which fell from nine floors up.

Both suffered broken bones in the Bournemouth incident in July 2013 and principal contractor Harbourview Developments Ltd has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.

Ryan Smith, 31, damaged a vertebrae and had to wear a brace for several months as a result of the incident at Hurn House, right, in Christchurch Road, which was being renovated as student accommodation.

Co-worker Paul Martret, 42, suffered a fractured elbow as a result of the blow from the 1.4metre long piece of steel, which was knocked from a stairwell during work from a temporary platform.

After the case at East Dorset Magistrates Court, Health and Safety Executive inspector Ian Whittles said: “Mr Smith and Mr Martret sustained painful injuries, but both could have been killed by the falling metal, which struck them from height, at speed and without warning.”

The HSE investigation established that the incident took place after work had begun to fit steel sections around the stairwell for the construction of extra floors.

On July 16 a subcontractor placed the piece of steel weighing 5kg on a structural beam running parallel to the temporary work platform in order to step over it.

However he knocked it with his leg, sending it plunging into a gap in the stairwell and towards the workers nine floors below.

Magistrates heard the incident could have been avoided had Harbourview Developments Ltd better managed the temporary works to ensure there was no risk from falling materials.

The company, of Arena Business Park, Poole which is now in liquidation, was fined a token amount of £1 after pleading guilty to breaching a regulation of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Mr Whittles said: “The incident was clearly preventable by using a combination of boarding and debris netting to create a safer working platform where materials or objects couldn’t fall through.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. It is a high risk activity that requires careful planning and execution at all times.”

Comments (23)

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6:16am Mon 11 Aug 14

Nigel Blumenthal says...

Several months in a brace for one worker, and a fractured elbow for the other, and the company was fined only one pound? Was the HSE inspector satisfied with this token gesture? How come nobody asked him? Personally, I think this is disgusting.
Several months in a brace for one worker, and a fractured elbow for the other, and the company was fined only one pound? Was the HSE inspector satisfied with this token gesture? How come nobody asked him? Personally, I think this is disgusting. Nigel Blumenthal
  • Score: 48

7:29am Mon 11 Aug 14

bobthedestroyer says...

Nigel Blumenthal wrote:
Several months in a brace for one worker, and a fractured elbow for the other, and the company was fined only one pound? Was the HSE inspector satisfied with this token gesture? How come nobody asked him? Personally, I think this is disgusting.
The company escaped further damages as they are ceasing to exist. Still doesn't mean it's right but the authorities must put creditors before employees (sarcasm)
[quote][p][bold]Nigel Blumenthal[/bold] wrote: Several months in a brace for one worker, and a fractured elbow for the other, and the company was fined only one pound? Was the HSE inspector satisfied with this token gesture? How come nobody asked him? Personally, I think this is disgusting.[/p][/quote]The company escaped further damages as they are ceasing to exist. Still doesn't mean it's right but the authorities must put creditors before employees (sarcasm) bobthedestroyer
  • Score: 23

8:46am Mon 11 Aug 14

Dave2207 says...

How much did this cost the taxpayer? There is no mention of the (probably enormous) legal costs that led to such a paltry fine! Or did the solicitors work for free (and were flying pigs seen nearby)?
How much did this cost the taxpayer? There is no mention of the (probably enormous) legal costs that led to such a paltry fine! Or did the solicitors work for free (and were flying pigs seen nearby)? Dave2207
  • Score: 19

8:56am Mon 11 Aug 14

Huey says...

Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal Huey
  • Score: -6

8:57am Mon 11 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

British Law is an ****.
The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.
British Law is an ****. The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist. BIGTONE
  • Score: 9

9:29am Mon 11 Aug 14

The Cerne Giant says...

BIGTONE wrote:
British Law is an ****.
The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.
Mr Bigtone

British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that

Sincerely
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: British Law is an ****. The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.[/p][/quote]Mr Bigtone British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that Sincerely The Cerne Giant
  • Score: -10

11:01am Mon 11 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability? speedy231278
  • Score: 28

1:53pm Mon 11 Aug 14

mcadder says...

speedy231278 wrote:
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work mcadder
  • Score: 14

3:39pm Mon 11 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

The Cerne Giant wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
British Law is an ****.
The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.
Mr Bigtone

British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that

Sincerely
Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved.
Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons.
Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law"

Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens.

Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest.
[quote][p][bold]The Cerne Giant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: British Law is an ****. The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.[/p][/quote]Mr Bigtone British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that Sincerely[/p][/quote]Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved. Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons. Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law" Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens. Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest. BIGTONE
  • Score: 7

4:02pm Mon 11 Aug 14

bobthedestroyer says...

BIGTONE wrote:
The Cerne Giant wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
British Law is an ****.
The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.
Mr Bigtone

British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that

Sincerely
Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved.
Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons.
Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law"

Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens.

Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest.
Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Cerne Giant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: British Law is an ****. The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.[/p][/quote]Mr Bigtone British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that Sincerely[/p][/quote]Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved. Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons. Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law" Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens. Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest.[/p][/quote]Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen bobthedestroyer
  • Score: -2

4:25pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Nigel Blumenthal says...

@bobthedestroyer

"Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen"

It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision.
@bobthedestroyer "Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen" It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision. Nigel Blumenthal
  • Score: 6

4:30pm Mon 11 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

mcadder wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work
Although, depending on the nature of the directorship, can the director still not be held personally liable, or is that purely for financial debts?
[quote][p][bold]mcadder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work[/p][/quote]Although, depending on the nature of the directorship, can the director still not be held personally liable, or is that purely for financial debts? speedy231278
  • Score: 2

4:35pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Nigel Blumenthal says...

Let's move on a little bit:

Item 1:
(from the story)
" Mr Whittles said: “The incident was clearly preventable by using a combination of boarding and debris netting to create a safer working platform where materials or objects couldn’t fall through.

“Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. It is a high risk activity that requires careful planning and execution at all times.” "

Item 2:
(@speedy231278)
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
(@mcadder)
I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work

Without prejudging the truth or otherwise of those statements, any company run by the current directors and officers of the liquidated Harbourview Developments Ltd should be banned from contracts to build any buildings over two stories, for the next ten years or until their directors have taken a significant number of safety courses. After all, if you cause injury on the road by driving, you either receive a stiff fine or have to attend driver awareness training. Why is the same not true in these type of cases, and why is the liability corporate, as opposed to individual? - directors of this kind of operation should not be allowed to hide behind the corporate veil.
Let's move on a little bit: Item 1: (from the story) " Mr Whittles [HSE man] said: “The incident was clearly preventable by using a combination of boarding and debris netting to create a safer working platform where materials or objects couldn’t fall through. “Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. It is a high risk activity that requires careful planning and execution at all times.” " Item 2: (@speedy231278) Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability? (@mcadder) I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work Without prejudging the truth or otherwise of those statements, any company run by the current directors and officers of the liquidated Harbourview Developments Ltd should be banned from contracts to build any buildings over two stories, for the next ten years or until their directors have taken a significant number of safety courses. After all, if you cause injury on the road by driving, you either receive a stiff fine or have to attend driver awareness training. Why is the same not true in these type of cases, and why is the liability corporate, as opposed to individual? - directors of this kind of operation should not be allowed to hide behind the corporate veil. Nigel Blumenthal
  • Score: 5

4:45pm Mon 11 Aug 14

bogtrotter says...

The individuals may have got an out of court settlement to avoid the publicity at the time
The individuals may have got an out of court settlement to avoid the publicity at the time bogtrotter
  • Score: 1

5:33pm Mon 11 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

Nigel Blumenthal wrote:
@bobthedestroyer

"Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen"

It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision.
THE defacto reason is that our Government,then and now,would not sign,is that they want total control over its citizens rights and day to day life.Hence the nanny state derivative.
Just as an example.....compare our bizarre planning laws to any other European Country and it tells you all.
We have "free speech" in this country do we?
We have covert surveillance on all of our communications ( probably this forum too)
A majority control over your citizens is called Communism in any language.
[quote][p][bold]Nigel Blumenthal[/bold] wrote: @bobthedestroyer "Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen" It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision.[/p][/quote]THE defacto reason is that our Government,then and now,would not sign,is that they want total control over its citizens rights and day to day life.Hence the nanny state derivative. Just as an example.....compare our bizarre planning laws to any other European Country and it tells you all. We have "free speech" in this country do we? We have covert surveillance on all of our communications ( probably this forum too) A majority control over your citizens is called Communism in any language. BIGTONE
  • Score: 2

6:03pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Nigel Blumenthal says...

Harbourview Developments Ltd was placed in voluntary creditors' liquidation on May 21st, 2014. The statement of affairs, dated July 25th, 2014, shows estimated total assets of over 1.25 million, but total unsecured creditors of over 1.5 million, leaving a creditors' deficit of 274,011.

(Information per Companies House website)
Harbourview Developments Ltd was placed in voluntary creditors' liquidation on May 21st, 2014. The statement of affairs, dated July 25th, 2014, shows estimated total assets of over 1.25 million, but total unsecured creditors of over 1.5 million, leaving a creditors' deficit of 274,011. (Information per Companies House website) Nigel Blumenthal
  • Score: 2

6:50pm Mon 11 Aug 14

stevobath says...

mcadder wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work
My thoughts exactly too..
[quote][p][bold]mcadder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work[/p][/quote]My thoughts exactly too.. stevobath
  • Score: 2

8:38pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Adrian XX says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Nigel Blumenthal wrote:
@bobthedestroyer

"Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen"

It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision.
THE defacto reason is that our Government,then and now,would not sign,is that they want total control over its citizens rights and day to day life.Hence the nanny state derivative.
Just as an example.....compare our bizarre planning laws to any other European Country and it tells you all.
We have "free speech" in this country do we?
We have covert surveillance on all of our communications ( probably this forum too)
A majority control over your citizens is called Communism in any language.
Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK though it would be **** convenient! Having the Euro would also be bloody convenient, but is not a good idea economically. Note the Ireland didn't join Schengen either since if it did, it would be obliged to establish strict border controls with the UK and would land it in dire economic straits.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nigel Blumenthal[/bold] wrote: @bobthedestroyer "Stir not sure why we didn't sign up to Shengen" It was mostly because we wanted to keep control of our borders and immigration. That may sound a bit strange, because we're not doing a great job of it, but signing that treaty would have meant entirely free movement for anyone from anywhere within the EU with no controls at all. Overall, I think that was a correct decision.[/p][/quote]THE defacto reason is that our Government,then and now,would not sign,is that they want total control over its citizens rights and day to day life.Hence the nanny state derivative. Just as an example.....compare our bizarre planning laws to any other European Country and it tells you all. We have "free speech" in this country do we? We have covert surveillance on all of our communications ( probably this forum too) A majority control over your citizens is called Communism in any language.[/p][/quote]Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK though it would be **** convenient! Having the Euro would also be bloody convenient, but is not a good idea economically. Note the Ireland didn't join Schengen either since if it did, it would be obliged to establish strict border controls with the UK and would land it in dire economic straits. Adrian XX
  • Score: 2

11:17pm Mon 11 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

Adrian XX says...

Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK


You are wrong.
Do deeper research aside from Wikipedia.
I have a colleague who lives in Amsterdam and you would not believe the Rights they have under the agreement than we in the UK do not have.
Adrian XX says... Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK You are wrong. Do deeper research aside from Wikipedia. I have a colleague who lives in Amsterdam and you would not believe the Rights they have under the agreement than we in the UK do not have. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

11:40pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Adrian XX says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Adrian XX says...

Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK


You are wrong.
Do deeper research aside from Wikipedia.
I have a colleague who lives in Amsterdam and you would not believe the Rights they have under the agreement than we in the UK do not have.
From the EU's own website: http://bit.ly/schen1 . Nothing at all there about anything except border controls. Your friend is mistaken. I wonder what rights you imagine he has that we do not have here.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: Adrian XX says... Schengen is purely an agreement to end border controls and I am not sure it is appropriate for the UK You are wrong. Do deeper research aside from Wikipedia. I have a colleague who lives in Amsterdam and you would not believe the Rights they have under the agreement than we in the UK do not have.[/p][/quote]From the EU's own website: http://bit.ly/schen1 . Nothing at all there about anything except border controls. Your friend is mistaken. I wonder what rights you imagine he has that we do not have here. Adrian XX
  • Score: 0

2:53am Tue 12 Aug 14

Azphreal says...

BIGTONE wrote:
The Cerne Giant wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
British Law is an ****.
The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.
Mr Bigtone

British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that

Sincerely
Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved.
Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons.
Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law"

Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens.

Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest.
Hence the reason they want out of the EU.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Cerne Giant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: British Law is an ****. The more laws that are made,the more loopholes exist.[/p][/quote]Mr Bigtone British law is the finest in the world, make no mistake about that Sincerely[/p][/quote]Tell that to the "token" injuries the victims recieved. Ohh and the psycho's that are amongst us on jollies from open prisons. Ohh and travellers that are exempt from the "law" Ohhhh and to put a tin hat on it.....26 European countries signed up to the Shengen Agreement giving citizens more freedoms and protections from unjust laws. But surprise,surprise, the UK didn't sign. That's why our so called silly laws are constantly being dragged before Brussels and in most cases upheld in favour of the citizens. Yep,British mug ship is certainly the finest.[/p][/quote]Hence the reason they want out of the EU. Azphreal
  • Score: 0

11:08am Tue 12 Aug 14

Expositor says...

I think you are all missing the point, as did the HSE, everybody working on a building site has responsibility in law for ensuring the safety of themselves, co-workers and the public.
In this case although Harbourview were ultimately responsible for safety on site, the subcontractor who caused the accident would have been under the direct instructions of the company he was working for, and it is that company that should have been prosecuted.
I think you are all missing the point, as did the HSE, everybody working on a building site has responsibility in law for ensuring the safety of themselves, co-workers and the public. In this case although Harbourview were ultimately responsible for safety on site, the subcontractor who caused the accident would have been under the direct instructions of the company he was working for, and it is that company that should have been prosecuted. Expositor
  • Score: 1

2:35pm Tue 12 Aug 14

mcadder says...

speedy231278 wrote:
mcadder wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?
Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work
Although, depending on the nature of the directorship, can the director still not be held personally liable, or is that purely for financial debts?
The directors could be sued personally if they are deemed to have acted in a fraudulent manner for financial actions, and they can be sued personally by HSE for breaches of health & safety by their company
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mcadder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: Let me guess, the company is being liquidated to avoid any liability?[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The company assets would have been transferred to a new company to protect against any large fines. I bet the directors and shareholders are still involved in the same line of work[/p][/quote]Although, depending on the nature of the directorship, can the director still not be held personally liable, or is that purely for financial debts?[/p][/quote]The directors could be sued personally if they are deemed to have acted in a fraudulent manner for financial actions, and they can be sued personally by HSE for breaches of health & safety by their company mcadder
  • Score: 0

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