£120,000 fine after worker sprains ankles

Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates’ Court has fined Meldrum Construction Services Ltd (MCS) £120,000 with £1,969 costs after a worker suffered sprained ankles when he fell down a service riser shaft.

Meldrum Construction Services of Dunston, Gatehead, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015.

The company was the principal contractor for refurbishment work at premises in Percy Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, when the incident happened. The court heard how MCS had failed to plan for the requirement of temporary platforms to be installed in the service riser to provide a safe work area.

Subsequently, temporary floors were installed to specifications they had not been designed for and one of them, on the first floor, collapsed when a worker stepped on to it. The man fell 4.5m to the floor below, spraining both ankles. It happened on 6 July last year (2015).

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that MCS had failed to plan and manage the temporary works within the service riser.