A builder has been fined after a garden wall collapsed inflicting severe injuries on a 61-year-old woman.
The woman, from Waterloo, suffered a broken jaw and a double fracture to her right ankle as well as cuts and bruises when a two-metre, earth-retaining wall gave way in her garden.
Safety breach preceded accident injury
Kirklees Magistrates heard the details of the accident injury on 9 April and sentenced Lee Marsden, director of MWK Group LLP, after he pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident on 9 September 2011 found Mr Marsden failed to ensure the wall was properly built to withstand the pressures of an earth-retaining structure.
During the construction, in which Mr Marsden had first-hand involvement and directed other workers, cracks started to appear in the wall.
They temporarily stopped work but did not take adequate precautions to ensure the safety of the residents in the house.
Injury claims risk
Builders face a potential risk of future injury claims arising from substandard work and as HSE Inspector Dave Stewart pointed out after the court hearing, the consequences of structural failure “can be serious and often fatal”.
Lee Marsden, of Dewhurst Road, Fartown, who represented himself and no longer works, was fined £140 by magistrates and ordered to pay £100 in costs.
“Construction work should only be undertaken by those competent to do the job safely in accordance with a design that deals with the specific risks,” said Mr Stewart.
The structure in this case was not capable of retaining the forces exerted on it and Mr Marsden did not recognise the personal injury risk it represented, the HSE Inspector added.
“He also failed to prevent access to the wall when cracks appeared and it was recognised as unstable. The wall did collapse and sadly, the householder was in the garden at the time and was seriously injured.
“Building contractors should engage competent engineers to advise on suitable designs for structures that will be subject to considerable loads.”
Anyone seeking specialist help with personal injury claims can contact national law firm Accident Advice Helpline.
Date Published: April 11, 2014
Author: David Brown