Construction company fined after member of public drowned

A company based in Glasgow has been heavily fined after an elderly man died following injuries sustained on a Kirkcaldy construction site. The injuries resulted as a consequence of there being insufficient fencing around the site.

The Kirkcaldy Sheriff's Court learned that the 83-year old gentleman, who was suffering from a number of age-related illnesses, fell into a flooded excavation and drowned when he was able to gain access to the new housing development site during a period of holiday closure in early January 2015.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had not installed appropriate or adequate fencing around the area, which meant that members of the public (including vulnerable adults and children) were able to wander onto the site. It noted that there were significant gaps in the fencing next to a public play park.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) (l) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, which states that the duties of the principal contractor for a project include taking reasonable steps to prevent access to the construction site by unauthorised persons.

A fine of £110,000 was imposed on the company and it was issued with an improvement notice.

Speaking after the hearing, an HSE Inspector stated that the tragic incident could have been prevented by the installation of a continuous and secure fence around the site.

The company apologised unreservedly for its failure to prevent the accident, saying that site safety remained its overriding priority and that it would take every possible step to ensure there could be no repeat of the tragedy.

For information on making a personal injury claim in Scotland contact Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

Jenny Jones, Senior litigator