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Seven survive concrete collapse at John Moores University

Seven construction workers were lucky to survive when more than 250 tonnes of wet concrete collapsed at Liverpool John Moores University, a court has been told.

Two companies have been fined a total of £100,000 over the incident, which occurred during the construction of an atrium for a new Art and Design Academy at the university.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that workers had been pumping concrete onto the third floor of the building for most of the day on 19 September 2007 when the supporting scaffolding holding up the concrete suddenly collapsed. The workers' injuries included cement burns to their skin and eyes, and bone fractures.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found both the principal contractor for the project, Wates Construction Ltd, and the concrete subcontractor, MPB Structures Ltd., allowed the supporting scaffolding to be erected from a preliminary design, clearly marked 'for discussion and pricing purposes only'.

The drawing did not include all the information needed to erect the scaffolding correctly or safely. The companies also failed to ensure the scaffolding was checked before allowing the concrete to be poured.

Both companies admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by putting workers at risk. Wates Construction Ltd., of Station Approach in Leatherhead, Surrey, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £35,591 in prosecution costs on 10 April 2012.

MPB Structures Ltd., of Crucible Road in Corby, Northamptonshire, was also fined £50,000 with costs of £35,362.


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