A NORTHWICH building firm has been fined £48,000 after a floor collapsed injuring three workers.
Belmont Homes (Cheshire) Ltd was carrying out work on a six-bedroom house in November 2011 when the floor collapsed, which resulted in one of the three men being hit by a falling concrete beam weighing half a tonne.
The 47-year-old suffered a crushed arm, fractured ribs, a punctured lung, broken collar bone and damage to his back. He has lost the use of his left hand and has limited use of his left arm. Belmont, based near Great Budworth, and Sale-based Waymac Ltd were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found work at the site had been badly planned, putting lives in danger.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Neil Jamieson said: “One of the workers suffered devastating injuries as a result of the collapse, and the other two were lucky not to have been more seriously injured or killed.
“Belmont was responsible for the overall management of the work, and the company failed to get a grip of the project.
“Waymac is also an experienced bricklaying firm, and it should have been obvious to both companies that lifting and lowering the floor could be dangerous.
“They should have sought the advice of a structural engineer before allowing the work to go ahead. If they had the injuries suffered could have been avoided.” Liverpool Crown Court heard property developer Belmont had brought in several contractors, including bricklaying firm Waymac, to help with the construction of a four-storey property in Bowdon.
During the project the firms discovered the frame for the first floor needed to be lowered.
This meant reducing the height of some of the concrete padstones the frame rested on by lifting the frame and lowering it back down.
As the concrete beams for the floor were put in place following this work the floor collapsed. Three of the men fell with it, the beams falling on top of them.
Belmont was fined £33,000 with £15,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure workers’ safety.
Waymac was fined £9,000 with £15,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching construction regulations legislation by failing to ensure the structure did not collapse as a result of its work.