Construction Company fined £20,000 for not securing fencing

A woman was seriously injured after fencing, to secure a construction site, was blown over by strong winds. The woman had parked her car and was walking past the construction site when the incident happened. A gust of wind blew over two fencing panels and knocked the woman unconscious.

The 56 year old woman sustained life changing injuries as a result of the accident which included severe concussion, fluid and bruising on the brain, a wound to the head and has affected her balance and senses of smell, taste and hearing. The Magistrates Court heard how the victim spent 16 days in hospital as a result of her injuries and was off work for seven months.

The Health and Safety Executive, who were investigating the accident, found that some of the hoarding (fencing) had previously blown down 2 few weeks earlier and that this accident could have been avoided if proper action had been taken at the time. Although no one had been hurt on that occasion, it was found that the construction company failed to get the necessary expert advice needed to ensure public safety. They needed to thoroughly risk assess the situation due to being so close to a busy pedestrian area and had discounted using concrete foundations because it would disrupt too many underground services and was required to move easily for deliveries. Instead they rebuilt the fence using inexperienced staff that did not have the correct knowledge for the task.

HSE inspector Jo Anderson said the construction company: “had a duty to its workforce and to members of the public to ensure the hoarding around the site was safe. This fencing was constructed using guesswork. The company failed to seek expert advice in order to ensure the hoarding was designed correctly and did not consider the substantial force which strong wind can impart on solid hoardings. This woman, who had parked and was on her way to the shops, suffered life-changing head injuries in what was a preventable incident. Without doubt, though, we could easily have been dealing with a fatal incident.”

The company was fined £20,000 for not taking proper care to protect the public breaching the Health and Safety Act at Work 1974 and ordered to pay £10,250 in costs.

If you would like to talk to us in detail about a potential personal injury claim case, please feel free to get in touch for a free no-obligation assessment.

Please fill out our contact form, or freephone us on 0800 0894444.