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04th August 2010

Firms' building failures killed worker

A worker died on a building site because of safety failures by architects and a construction firm.

David Cairns was killed when he fell off a roof, nine metres to the ground, at a site in Somerset.

Bristol Crown Court was told that in January 2005 the 64-year-old was working with sub-contractors H&F Air Conditioning at the new Exchange building in Express Park, Bridgwater.

Working on an air conditioning plant built on a platform which could only be reached by ladder against a flat roof, Mr Cairns died because only a low parapet was in place on the roof, which was insufficiently high to ensure his safety.

Express Park Construction Company, based in London's Harley Street, admitted breaking Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for not safely managing its sub-contractors. It was handed a £75,000 fine and told to pay £68,000 in prosecution costs.

Oxford Architects Partnership, based in Hinksey Hill, Oxford, admitted breaking Regulations 13, and 14, of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, which require firms to consider issues of safety when drawing up plans. It was fined £120,000 and handed costs of £60,000.

Sue Adsett, and inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, said: "This is a tragic case where both the failings of the construction firm and the architects led to Cairns' death."

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