Toppling pole could result in prosecution

April 2014

Live events sector


Tega (Hull) Ltd has been prosecuted after a worker was hit by a toppling metal column as the stage was being prepared for the popular Classics in the Park festival in East Yorkshire. The Company was charged with safety failures after a joint investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and East Riding Council. It admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at a hearing before Magistrates last year.

The HSE told the court the worker was part of a team erecting a temporary stage at Brantingham Park, Elloughton, for the 2011 concerts. The men were attempting to raise the first of four columns to support the stage roof on 6 July 2011 – four days before the opening night – when the incident happened. A forklift truck was to pull the column upright from its horizontal position on the stage while four workers pushed it from beneath. On the third attempt, however, the truck slid backwards on wet grass and the column fell, hitting one of the men. The worker, 54, from Thorngumbald in East Yorkshire, suffered serious fractures to his lower left leg, which required surgery, and damaged vertebrae in his back. HSE’s investigation found Tega (Hull) Ltd did not have a safe system of work in place and had not properly planned the lifting operations. It failed to protect both its own employees and those of a sub-contracted labouring team hired in from a local events company. HSE Inspector David Bradley said adding  “The way the forklift truck was used to lift the column did not constitute a safe system of work. It later transpired the firm had bespoke equipment for lifting columns of this type available at its head office on the same day as the incident.”

At a sentencing hearing at Crown Court,  it transpired that Tega (Hull) Ltd, had been dissolved as a company at the start of this year. The court placed an ‘endorsement’ on file to record the fact that the company no longer existed and therefore could not be sentenced.

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