Three companies have been fined £420,000 after a three-year-old girl was struck on the head by a falling roof tile.
The slate tile fell off the roof of Moonfleet Manor hotel in Weymouth Dorset, which was having its roof renovated. The incident happened on 13 June 2019.
The toddler was hit on the head as she was leaving the building with her father and older brother having just attended a swimming lesson at the hotel. The slate fell around 5m before hitting her.
The girl was given first aid before being taken to hospital. She was put into an induced coma and had to have a two-hour operation to remove pieces of slate from her head.
The three companies fined were Moonfleet Manor, and Rocare Building Services Ltd, as well as Quadra Built Environmental Consultancy Ltd.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Nicole Buchanan said: “This incident has caused significant injuries and extreme distress to a child and her family; and could have been fatal.
“Clients and construction companies must always remember their legal duty to keep both workers and members of the public safe.
“The client, principal designer and principal contractor all have a duty to work together to implement the industry standards to ensure members of the public are safe particularly if a venue is to remain live.”
Rocare Building Services was the principal contractor overseeing roof refurbishment, window replacement, and restoring chimneys and gutters. It had taken off the old tiles and began replacing them with new slates. The new slates were stacked around the roof and one piece fell off.
Quadra Built Environmental Consultancy was hired by Moonfleet Manor as principal designer, and was responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the pre-construction phase.
The HSE investigation found that the company failed in the planning and design stage to properly assess the risks of objects falling from height and hitting people. There was also insufficient consultation and collaboration between those involved.
The scaffolding was found to be not fit-for-purpose as it didn’t have proper measures in place around the perimeter to stop items from falling. These could have included protective fans, covered walkways or, at a minimum, brick guards.
The hotel itself was found to have ignored requests to address the hazard of falling objects to members of the public using the busy thoroughfare to and from the swimming pool. The judge found that Moonfleet Manor was more concerned about putting the convenience for guests, and preventing the hotel from looking like a building site, above safety.
Rocare Building Services pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,554.78.
Quadra Built Environmental Consultancy, at Lechlade On Thames, Gloucestershire, was found guilty of safety breaches and fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.
The LFH (Moonfleet Manor) of Putney, London, was found guilty of safety breaches and fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £143,482.04 in costs.
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