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£135,000 fines for cold store collapse

hse_logoUK: Two companies have been fined for safety failings that led to two workers being seriously injured when a cold store collapsed under them.

John Sisk and Son Ltd of St Albans, the principal contractor for fitting out a new distribution warehouse in Motherwell and Hemsec Installations Ltd (HIL) of Birkenhead, the company subcontracted to design and construct the cold store structure, were fined a total of £135,000 over the incident in October 2010.

Guy Davies, (27) and Nayan Patel, (20) two workers employed by Sitewatch (a subcontractor of Sisk), were seriously injured when the roof lids of the partly constructed cold store collapsed whilst they were working on them.

Guy Davies suffered serious fractures to his thigh bones and his right kneecap. Nayan Patel suffered two fractures to his right arm requiring a metal plate, and a number of fractures to his foot.

Each company was found guilty of an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. John Sisk and Son was fined £64,000 and HIL Installations Ltd (formerly known as Hemsec Installations Ltd) was fined £71,000.

Speaking after the hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court, HSE principal inspector Graeme McMinn said: “The accident could have been prevented if Sisk had enforced their permit to work system and ensured that workers were not allowed access to the roof lid section until they received confirmation that the roof lid section had been installed correctly and was safe.

“HIL should have ensured that their sub-contractor had installed the connections between the roof lid and cold store wall in line with the design specifications. They should also have checked that these connections were safe before allowing Sisk access to the roof lids.”

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