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Two firms fined after metal panel hits worker

A Londonderry farmer and building contractor have each been fined £10,000 after a metal shuttering panel fell on an employee.

On 16 November 2018, a 23-year-old employee of S Higgins Construction was assisting with the preparations for the construction of a concrete reinforced wall at McClure Farm in Coleraine. During this work, a large metal shuttering panel fell onto the employee as he was working close to its base. The worker sustained numerous fractures and injuries as a result of the panel falling on to him.

A Health and Safety Executive (NI) investigation revealed that the shuttering panel was not properly secured to prevent it falling over. 

Richard McClure, a farmer trading as McClure Farms, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order and reg 13 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (NI), while S Higgins Construction admitted breaching the same Article, as well as reg 19 of the CDM NI Regulations. He was also fined £10,000.

"All construction work needs to be properly planned," warned Kevin Campbell, an inspector with HSENI’s construction team after the hearing. "Farmers must engage contractors with appropriate skill, knowledge and experience, and all work must be carried out in a safe manner. All temporary supports, such as shuttering panels, must be adequately supported and secured, to prevent them falling over."


Kellie is a freelance writer and former online editor of the Health and Safety at Work website.

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