Construction firms face £275,000 payout after accident disables worker

Two construction firms have been fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £165,000 in costs after their poor working practices left a Polish construction worker permanently disabled.

North London developer Gargreen, and its associated contractor Euro’s (London), were building a warehouse at a site by the North Circular Road in Brent, London, when a two-ton concrete slabe fell on Pawel Szczotka.

Szczotka and a colleague went under the slab to push it up into position on the frame using a prop after it became jammed, but it fell on him, causing major crush and fracture injuries to his pelvis and legs.

More than two years on, he is still severely disabled, and medical experts doubt his ability to ever work again.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Simon Hester, who investigated the incident, said: “The working methods that were used in this case were not acceptable. Companies must ensure safe systems of work are in place to prevent this type of incident, and to ensure that this does not happen again.

“This case also highlights the risks that migrant workers can be exposed to when unaware of employers’ health and safety responsibilities and their own rights.”

Vijay Kara, a director of both Euro’s (London) and Gargreen, and who played a direct role in managing the construction work on the site, was charged with an offence under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which alleged that the breaches by both companies were a result of his own personal negligence.

The court found him guilty and he was fined £99,900 and ordered to pay costs of £150,000. Kara was told he had six months to pay up, or face a custodial sentence.

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