When running a construction site, Health and Safety and protection of both the public (Public Liability Insurance) and employees (Employers Liability Insurance) are of paramount importance.
Robust risk assessments and stress testing of procedures provide vital protection in terms of minimising the risk of accidents and breach of HSE (Health and Safety Executive) regulations.
Failure to adhere to correct processes can result in prosecution by the HSE, or Public or Employers Liability claims and subsequent increases to your Construction Insurance premiums.
As well as the financial impact, the emotional burden of responsibility for injury to a worker or a third party can be considerable.
Kier Construction Ltd appeared in court on 23rd September '14, after an 18-week old baby boy was injured following an incident outside a supermarket in Stirling on 24th October 2011.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard that a barrier collapsed on top of a pram while the firm was carrying out refurbishment work inside the store.
Kier had assembled the barriers to separate the public from the ongoing works, but branded banners saying that the supermarket was "Open for Business" were attached to the barriers.
The court heard the baby's mother parked the pram near to the barriers with her 13-year-old daughter, standing next to it.
As she walked to the cash machine, she heard her daughter scream. She turned and saw a barrier had fallen on top of the pram hood, which had collapsed on her baby.
They tried to lift the barrier off of the pram, and a passer-by came to their assistance.
The baby was taken to hospital with bruising to his forehead. Fortunately, he was discharged that day and suffered no more effects from the incident.
Manufacturers' Instructions Not Followed
An investigation by the HSE found that contrary to the manufacturer's instructions, the barriers had not been filled with water to ensure stability and the barriers next to the cash machines had not been locked together.
The regulator's Inspectors also discovered that the previous month, high winds had caused the barriers to fall over and the site manager had ordered the removal of the banners.
Concrete blocks were then placed at the base of the barriers, but they were not filled with water.
Fine After Guilty Plea
Kier Construction Ltd, of, Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire, was fined £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Following the case, HSE Principal Inspector, Isabelle Martin, said:
"This incident could easily have been prevented. If assembled correctly the barriers could withstand winds of up to 58mph. On the day of the incident, wind speed was about 30mph and should not have been an issue.
"Instead, because Kier Construction Limited failed to properly construct the barriers, a young baby was hurt.
"Luckily, his injuries were minor but they could have been worse. This incident should serve as a reminder to construction companies about their duty to protect members of the public who may be affected by their work."
Public Liability claims under a Construction Insurance policy can result in significant premium increases, as well as the associated reputational damage, which can impact a firms' ability to compete on future tender responses.
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