Portsmouth company fined after workman is hit by steel bar

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A COMPANY has been fined £16,000 after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries when a 1.4-tonne steel beam fell on him.

Portsmouth-based Condor Allslade was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for a breach of safety measures which could have prevented the accident.

The 64-year-old victim was hit by the falling steel beam at the firm’s factory in Limberline Road, Hilsea, on June 10, 2010.

After the accident, the man was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital.

He suffered from a number of injuries, including a fractured skull, two crushed discs in his back, a broken knee, broken ankle bones and a blood clot in his lung.

He stayed in hospital for a month and is still having surgery and treatment.

Magistrates in Portsmouth were told the employee was working on a steel beam that was sitting unsecured on a metal trolley.

The court heard how was manoeuvring an overhead crane when the hook of the crane struck the beam and sent it toppling from the trolley.

After the incident, the HSE served a prohibition notice on the company to stop any further work on steel beams unsupported on the trollies.

An investigation found that the company had failed to carry out an assessment of the risks involved in that process, meaning simple safety measures to prevent the incident weren’t brought in.

The court fined Condor Allslade Ltd a total of £16,000 and £5,074 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation.

Craig Varian, a HSE inspector, said: ‘The painful and debilitating consequences of these dreadful injuries will be with this man for the rest of his life.

‘The term “risk assessment” is often lambasted as a technicality or part of a tick-box exercise.

‘However, the true meaning of the term and its importance are very starkly demonstrated in this case.

‘Had Condor Allslade undertaken a risk assessment and then taken the action necessary to mitigate the risks, the incident could have been avoided.

‘In this case, inexpensive and easy-to-implement solutions were available.

‘The company did put measures in place after the incident. Sadly that was too late.’