MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Company fined after hoarding injures pensioner

A Hertfordshire firm has been fined for safety failings after a pensioner was struck on the head by an advertising hoarding while walking past a construction site in South East London.


The 85-year-old, who does not wish to be named, sustained a deep cut that required 13 stitches in the incident at Wardroper House on St Georges Rd, Southwark, on 15 July 2010.


She was hospitalised for eight days before eventually making a full recovery.


Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (10 April) that Durkan Ltd, of Waltham Cross, was responsible for the hoarding, which stood alongside a pavement outside the ongoing development.


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that it was poorly maintained, badly designed and constructed, and had been overloaded with advertising material.


Magistrates were told that had the hoarding been properly designed and maintained to withstand a specific weight and inclement weather, then the incident could have been avoided.


Durkan Ltd, of High Road, Waltham Cross, Herts, was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.


After the hearing HSE Inspector Toby Webb said:


"Advertising hoardings of this nature are defined as temporary works and must be properly designed, constructed and maintained to ensure they are safe.


"This sign and hoarding was not maintained in a safe condition, and a pensioner was seriously injured as a result. She could have been killed, and there was a clear risk to other passers-by as well as workers on the construction site it served.


"Durkan Ltd could and should done more to prevent that risk."


Info Bite 116
June 2013