Contractors prosecuted for Aintree incident

A two year old child escaped with minor injuries after a 17 metre wide shop hoarding collapsed on him at Racecourse Retail Park in Aintree, Liverpool.

The toddler was with his father and grandparents at the shopping centre when the hoarding, which had been erected outside a new shop, overturned as the family were walking past, leaving them with cuts and bruises.

Wates Construction and Dean Lotwick, who trades as Hammerwich Construction, were prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive following the incident on 29 September 2008.

Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard that Wates Construction had commissioned Dean Lotwick to build the 2.4-metre high hoarding to run outside a shop which was being newly fitted out at the Retail Park.

The HSE said the hoardings had not been designed properly and could not withstand the wind and blew over as the family walked past.

Wates and Dean Lotwick pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 28 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) regulations 2007 by failing to ensure that the hoarding was properly designed and built.

Wates, of Station Approach, Leatherhead, Surrey, was given a fine of £4,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £5,273, while Dean Lotwick, of Cannock Road, Bruntwood, Staffordshire, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,963 costs.

Kevin Jones, HSE inspector, said: "What should have been a pleasurable day out turned into an unpleasant and frightening experience for this family. Not only did they sustain injuries, but I can imagine that the panic they experienced when their baby disappeared under the hoarding would have been considerable.

"It is important that those involved in construction recognise that temporary works such as hoardings are properly designed by competent people and built to the agreed design. This clearly didn't happen in this case and the result of this was an incident which could have easily been prevented."

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By Jacko

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