A building firm has been fined and told it could have ‘easily prevented’ an incident which saw a barrier fall onto a four-month old baby’s head, a court heard.
Kier Construction Ltd was fined £4,000 after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to assemble the barriers correctly.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard that the firm had put up barriers to keep passers-by away from the supermarket refurbishment work they were carrying out in Stirling in October 2011.
But as the sleeping baby’s mother used an ATM outside the store on Drip Road she heard her 13-year-old daughter scream and turned to see that the barrier – which had a supermarket banner attached to it – had fallen on top of the pram’s hood, the court was told.
A passer-by helped the baby’s mother and sister lift the barrier off the pram. The boy was taken to hospital with a bruised forehead and was able to return home later on the same day.
The court heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the barriers next to the cash machine had not been locked together or filled with water – as specified in their manufacturer’s instructions – to ensure they remained stable.
The HSE probe had also found that during September 2011 the site manager had ordered that the banners be removed from the barriers after they were blown over by high winds, the court heard.
Heavy concrete blocks had also then been placed at their base but the barriers were not filled with water.
Speaking after the court case Principal Inspector Isabelle Martin said the accident was easily preventable.
She said wind speeds on the day of the accident had reached about 30mph but added that had the barriers been assembled properly they would have remained stable in winds blowing at up to 58mph.
The inspector said the baby had been lucky to escape with minor injuries, adding that the accident could have been far worse.