Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Brain Injuries Sustained by Employee after Two Firms fail to ensure a Safe Environment
Posted by David Cant on June 30, 2011

Huge Fines for Both Firms Involved

An awful accident occurred in Bristol back in June 2008 when a scaffolding pipe fell onto the head of an employee below.  The pipe fell 15ft before landing on Richard Chodkiewicz, aged 53. Once again this is an accident which could have been completely avoided if the firms had carried out risk assessments such as those offered by health and safety consultants.

When the incident occurred there were three men concentrating on installing a lift.  Mr Chodkiewicz was standing below along with a fellow worker, and situated 18 stories up was the third employee.  The scaffolding pipe was being hoisted up through a shaft using piano wire; unfortunately the wire came undone sending the piece of scaffold back down the shaft where it landed on Mr Chodkiewicz.

Inspectors Uncovered Health and Safety Breaches

After the accident Mr Chodkiewicz was left with severe and permanent brain damage due to the results of the injuries caused by the scaffolding and now is under 24 hour care.  The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident and decided to prosecute the two firms.

Hoistway Limited and Miller Construction were found to have failed their employees by failing to provide a safe way to install the lifts.  The inspector, Steve Frain, stated that no one should have been under the shaft while anything was being lifted.  He pointed out that even small objects could be lethal when dropped from height.

Working at height is often the cause of injuries and death, especially in the construction industry.  Health and safety consultants can help companies by providing them with multiple services including risk assessments.  A risk assessment in this case could have highlighted the dangers of standing beneath the shaft and a system could have been created to avoid this situation from occurring.

Guilty Pleas Heard from Both Firms

Due to the lack of risk assessments and the poor onsite management Mr Chodkiewicz’s life has been changed forever.  The two firms, Hoistway Ltd and Miller Construction appeared before the judge at and both pleaded guilty for failing Mr Chodkiwicz’s safety.

Hoistway Ltd which is based in Matlock was fined £70,000 and an additional £14,616 in costs for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act.  Edinburgh firm Miller Construction received fines of £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17, 232 for breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The Health and Safety Executive pointed out that during 2010 there were 42 deaths and over 3000 injuries in the construction industry. Health and Safety consultants are able to provide the services needed to ensure the laws and regulations are met.  This means your employees are properly safeguarded against accidents and injuries.

Veritas Health and Safety Consultants have health and safety services which are concentrated on the construction industry. Call 0800 1488 677 to speak with the health and safety consultants about any of their services designed to protect you and your employees.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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