Balfour Beatty fined £230k as collapsed floor leaves bricklayer hospitalised

A bricklayer was left hospitalised after a floor collapsed on a Balfour Beatty site - with the construction firm now facing a £230,000 fine.

Site injuries are a hazard of being a tradesperson, but no one expects an entire floor to give way beneath them.

That’s what happened to a bricklayer on a Balfour Beatty site, Newcastle Crown Court heard last week.

Bricklayer fell more than two metres through floor

The bricklayer, part of a three-man team called in to work on the incomplete property, was on the first floor of the building when the floor gave way at one side.

The collapse sent him and around 70 bricks tumbling over two metres to the ground. Fortunately, the worst of his injuries was a broken foot.

Badly installed support joists to blame

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that the supporting joists for the first floor had not been fitted properly. Though the house designer had given instructions on how to install the joists, the instructions had not been followed, leaving the floor unstable.

Balfour Beatty Regional Construction were running the site, and pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 28 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, which specifically refers to the stability of structures.

The court fined Balfour Beatty £230,000 and ordered them to pay costs of £11,915.

HSE weighs in

HSE inspector Alan Sheldon, said: “It is vital that companies following design instructions and ensure that structures are stable.”

“This incident could have been much more serious for a number of workers and should act as a reminder to everyone within construction–that protecting workers’ health and safety is vital in such a potentially dangerous industry.”

What do you think of the court’s decision? Let us know in the comments.

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