barrier collapse

Barrier collapses on baby’s pram leads to fine.

On 23 September 2014 Construction firm Kier Construction Ltd was fined £4,000 for safety failings after a barrier was blown on top of a pram injuring an 18-week-old baby. The Company plead guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that on 24 October 2011 a baby boy was asleep in his pram while his mother used a cash machine outside a supermarket in Drip Road, Stirling when the incident occurred. The baby’s mother parked the pram near to the barriers with her 13-year-old daughter, standing next to it. As she walked to the cash machine she heard her daughter scream. She turned and saw a barrier with banner attached had fallen on top of the pram hood, which had collapsed on the baby. They tried to lift the barrier off the pram and a passer-by came to their assistance. The baby was taken to hospital with bruising to his forehead. He was discharged that day and suffered no more effects from the incident.

Kier Construction Ltd was refurbishing the supermarket had assembled barriers to separate the public from the work that was going on. Branding banners saying the supermarket was still open for business were attached to the barriers.

HSE investigation found that contrary to manufacturer’s instructions, the barriers had not been filled with water to ensure stability and barriers had not been locked together. Inspectors also discovered that the previous month, high winds had caused the barriers to fall over and the site manger had ordered the removal of the banners. Concrete blocks were then placed at the base of the barriers but they were not filled with water.

Following the case, HSE Principal Inspector Isabelle Martin, said:
“This incident could easily have been prevented. If assembled correctly the barriers could withstand winds of up to 58mph. On the day of the incident wind speed was about 30mph and should not have been an issue.
“Instead, because Kier Construction Limited failed to properly construct the barriers, a young baby was hurt. Luckily, his injuries were minor but they could have been worse. This incident should serve as a reminder to construction companies about their duty to protect members of the public who may be affected by their work.”

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