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Site workers injured by falling debris

PUBLISHED: 15:13 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 01 July 2010

A CONSTRUCTION company was fined £20,000 after five workers were injured when a partially-built care home collapsed.  The men plunged 30 feet as the second floor buckled under the

A CONSTRUCTION company was fined £20,000 after five workers were injured when a partially-built care home collapsed.

The men plunged 30 feet as the second floor buckled under the weight of concrete beams moments after they were hoisted into position by a crane.

One of the crew was off work for eight months after suffering spinal fractures, a severed right finger and cuts to his head, arm and hip.

Excelcare Developments Ltd have since accepted responsibility for the failures at the site in Park Avenue, Bromley.

The Old Bailey heard on Monday that the company was building a 52-room four-floor residential home when the accident happened on May 15, 2003. Deliveries of concrete beams were being lifted by a crane and placed on to the second floor when a 'loud bang' was heard.

The concrete beam floor collapsed, falling to the first floor and taking part of that down to the ground as well.

Prosecutor Karen Robinson said: "In the collapse that occurred these men who had been standing on the second floor fell to the ground floor basement area.

"They were showered with debris, building material and blocks. It was a fall of around eight or nine metres."

Australian Rhys Davies, who was standing on the second floor guiding the crane, suffered a fractured shoulder.

Tim Hudson was left with three fractured ribs, Tyrone Williams suffered a fractured hand and John Sargeant escaped with only a bruised back.

Supervisor Ewan McLean-Barr suffered three fractured vertebrae in his back, a severed right index finger and lacerations to his head, arm and hip.

They have all received compensation of between £5,000 to £10,000 except Mr McLean-Barr, who is in dispute with his solicitors after his claim was not registered in time.

Miss Robinson said there had been a previous accident involving the company when a worker fell through a fragile roof on November 5, 2002.

Health and Safety Inspectors had to issue a prohibition notice after finding there were dangerous risks of falling at the site and several employees were Chinese with little knowledge of English.

Excelcare Developments Limited, whose headquarters are at Widmore road, Bromley, had made a profit before tax of £191,000 in 2004 but last year made a loss of £74,000.

However the directors' remuneration had doubled in the same period, the court heard.

They pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations and one offence under the Lifting Operations and Equipment Regulations.

ktneditorial@archant.co.uk

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