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Concrete pumping company fined for poor plant maintenance

A Hertfordshire concrete pumping company has been fined after members of the public and a police car were sprayed with concrete when a delivery pipe ruptured.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted London Concrete Pumping Limited over poorly maintained equipment leading to the incident on 24 May 2011.

On 10 September, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that the equipment was being used to pump concrete to the top of a construction site opposite Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace, when the pipe, part of the concrete pump's delivery line, ruptured, spraying the liquid concrete at high-velocity over the vehicle and injured a passer-by.

The court was told that on the day of the incident, the pump operator, believing there was a blockage in the pipe released the pressure and started reverse pumping. He could not see the entire length of the equipment and was told by the foreman a pipe had burst hitting people and a vehicle with concrete. The debris caused a head injury to a woman and shattered the window of a police car 25 metres away.

The subsequent HSE investigation found the pipe had been weakened in a separate incident but had not been replaced or repaired. Magistrates were told the reason for the rupture was due to the company's inadequate maintenance regime which had allowed the pipe to be used. HSE said this increased the possibility of other machines being operated while in a poor condition.

The company specialises in pumps for the piling, groundwork and concrete frame sector. It employs around eight full time Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) subcontractors.

London Concrete Pumping Ltd. of Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £8000 and ordered to pay £31,000 in costs.


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