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 Ignored warnings lead to fatality in Swansea

Ignored warnings lead to fatality in Swansea

2 December 2012 Email this article

This story makes the case for IPAF training crystal clear.

Carillion Construction Ltd, along with Febrey Ltd, were jointly prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently following a fatal incident in 2008 in which a man died.

Self-employed father of two, Russell Samuel from Porth was contracted by Febrey Ltd to work as a scaffolder at the Meridian Quay apartment complex in Swansea.

He was dismantling a scaffold ladder access platform ready for the installation of the roof and staircase on the fourth floor, when he fell approximately 19 metres to the ground below, just missing carpenter Raymond Haines, who was working directly below.

Mr Samuel, 40, suffered multiple injuries during his fall, including a fractured skull. He was taken to Morriston Hospital but died two days later on 24 January 2008.

The HSE investigation found the defendants, Febrey Ltd, had inadequate and ineffective health and safety management arrangements in place and there was little or no communication, information and instruction provided to its workforce. The management team on site was not adequately trained in health and safety, despite repeated warnings by its health and safety consultants.  This resulted in persistent and systematic failures to control work at height risks on site.

The company found that Carillion Construction Ltd failed to ensure the safety of its employees and those under its control. The company, as principal contractor, was made aware of and had detected many failings in the safety management of Febrey Ltd. However, it failed to gain improvement from Febrey on many occasions.

Carillion Construction Ltd was fined a total of £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,500 in costs. Febrey Ltd was fined a total of £85, although the judge said he would have fined them £250,000 before it became insolvent.

The HSE inspector who worked on the case, Anne-Marie Orrells, commented: "There were recurrent indicators that should have alerted Carillion to Febrey's persistent and systematic failures throughout the whole project. Yet Carillion failed to adequately address Febrey's significant failings. As the principal contractor on site, Carillion had a clear duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction work.

"Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry and this is the tragic reality of what can happen when adequate arrangements are not in place to manage health and safety.

"Mr Samuel's children and family will have to live with the consequences the defendants' failings for the rest of their lives."