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Construction firm fined £5,000 after falling roof sheets narrowly miss karting party

A construction company has been fined £5,000 after metal sheets crashed through a karting track roof narrowly missing members of the public.

The incident happened at The Raceway on the Park Lane Trading Estate, Oldbury, on 16th April last year, where Barnsley-based KSMT Ltd had been employed to overclad the roof.

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court was told that a sub-contractor had lifted new metal roof sheets, which weighed three quarters of a tonne, on to the roof using the forks of a telehandler.

However, the sheets and one of the forks fell off and through the existing corrugated roof before crashing through a raised section of the kart track inside and coming to rest on the lower section.

Despite 10 racers using the circuit at the time, none of them were in the area where the materials landed narrowly having passed through seconds earlier.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the lifting operation was poorly planned and KSMT, as the main contractor for the work, failed to assess the risks or produce a method statement or lifting plan.

Metal was loaded directly on to metal, increasing the risk of slipping, and the forks of the telehandler were not wide enough to take the load.

KSMT Ltd, of Fall Bank Industrial Estate, Dodworth, Barnsley, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay a further £500 in costs with a £500 victim surcharge after admitting to a single breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector Gareth Langston said the incident was entirely preventable.

“It could have been avoided in any number of ways; by securing the load to the forks, using a pallet to reduce the slip of metal on metal, using wider forks, a pallet, crane or a scaffold, or ensuring the forks were locked on,” he said.

“No thought was given to any of these methods, nor of lifting the materials when the track was unoccupied. There were ten racers on the track at the time who were within seconds of being struck – with potentially devastating consequences.

“This case shows the importance of properly planning lifting operations and highlights the duty of the principal contractor on a site to manage their subcontractors.”

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