Fine a warning’ to building firms

A CONSTRUCTION firm has been fined £35,000 after mortar tubes fell from a crane and crushed a St Neots man as he worked on the new Oak Tree Health Centre in Huntingdon. Gleeson Construction Services Ltd was also ordered to pay £12,860 in costs following t

A CONSTRUCTION firm has been fined £35,000 after mortar tubes fell from a crane and crushed a St Neots man as he worked on the new Oak Tree Health Centre in Huntingdon.

Gleeson Construction Services Ltd was also ordered to pay £12,860 in costs following the accident which left 48-year-old Colin Beamish, a self-employed builder, with his vertebra fractured in three places.

Mr Beamish was working for Gleeson at the building site in Huntingdon when the incident happened on March 31, 2005. He has been off work ever since.

Last Wednesday, representatives of the North Cheam-based firm, which had earlier admitted breaching health and safety regulations, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court for sentencing.


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Following the court case, development director of Gleeson Construction, Harvey Griffiths, said: "We are very disappointed to be prosecuted. We take health and safety issues very seriously.

"We are doing everything to ensure something like this doesn't happen again and we are very sorry for what has happened to Mr Beamish."

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Roxanne Barker, a Health and Safety Executive inspector, said the case highlighted the importance of construction companies properly planning all lifting work.

"I hope this case serves a warning to all construction companies to ensure lifting operations are properly planned and carried out in a safe manner," she said. "Construction firms must always ensure loads are secure and not liable to fall. There are simple and inexpensive ways in which this can be achieved and this incident highlights the consequences."

Gleeson admitted breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It states employers have a duty to ensure employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

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