Two companies fined £280,000 after worker crushed under fire sprinkler manifold pipework

Two construction companies have been fined following an incident where a subcontractor was crushed when a fire sprinkler manifold pipework system fell on top of him during installation.

On 26 October 2016, at the Markham Vale Business Park, Chesterfield, a cladding subcontractor suffered life changing injuries when he tried to remove some loose insulation from behind the manifold pipework and the 2.6 tonne structure fell on him, pinning him to the ground.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that A & F Sprinklers Ltd and Norton Sprinkler Installations Ltd did not adequately plan the installation of the manifold pipework system. As a result, there were inadequate measures in place to prevent the manifold pipework from falling whilst it was in a temporary state of instability and there were no measures in place to segregate the work area from other operatives whilst the installation was ongoing.

A & F Sprinklers Ltd of Trans-Pennine Trading Estate, Gorrells Way, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,220.19

Norton Sprinkler Installations Ltd of Crewe Road, Sandbach, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) & 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,277.59.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Katherine Cotton, said: “The operative’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed. This serious incident could have been avoided if those in control of planning, managing and undertaking the work had adequately assessed the risks and implemented straightforward control measures to stabilise the manifold pipework during the installation phase.

“Contractors have a responsibility to ensure they identify and manage risks involved in construction work and to put safe systems of work in place to protect all who may be affected by the construction work.

“If suitable measures had been taken during the installation of the manifold pipework, the life changing injuries sustained by the operative would have been prevented.”

27 May 2022