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Firm fined after pedestrian is struck by falling masonry

CCTV stills capture the moment of impact as the pedestrian is struck by the dislodged masonry

A Portsmouth firm has been fined for safety failings after a member of the public was struck by masonry during unsafe overhead work in Surrey.

The 29 year-old passer-by, who does not wish to be named, cut and bruised his shoulder and experienced muscle spasms as a result of the incident on Camberley High Street on 31 May 2012.

On 4 March, Guildford Magistrates' Court heard that Majestic Construction Limited was undertaking work above shops to clean stonework and install pigeon spikes.

A mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) was correctly being used for the task, but as it was being repositioned it struck a building and dislodged a chunk of masonry weighing some 8kg that fell almost eight metres to the pavement below.

The stone struck the pedestrian on the shoulder and knocked him to the ground, as dramatically captured by nearby CCTV cameras.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that although barriers had been placed around the nearside support legs of the MEWP, there was nothing to prevent anyone from walking directly underneath the ongoing work overhead.

Magistrates were told that some of the barriers were being moved to provide a safe-working cordon further along the street where the MEWP was headed, but nobody warned the pedestrian to stand back or to be aware of the overhead work.

The incident could have been prevented had the work been better managed with a proper safety cordon in place.

Majestic Construction Limited, of Lakeside, North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,473 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.


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