Around 150 tonnes of concrete came down after the failure of falsework

Two construction firms in Northern Ireland have been fined a total of £61,000 after the collapse of a building in Belfast that injured six workers.

Around 150 tonnes of concrete, 25 tonnes of steel bars and 4 tonnes of falsework - used to support the building while it was being worked on - fell down in the incident, said the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

The collapse was caused by the failure of the falsework, the Executive said. The accident happened to the Law Society Building on Victoria Street on 10 March 2008.

JH Turkington & Sons Ltd and Ripley Developments Ltd were today fined a total of £61,000 for health and safety breaches following the collapse of the Law Society Building in Victoria Street, Belfast on 10th March 2008.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) revealed that the incident occurred due to the collapse of a temporary supporting structure known as Falsework.  It was estimated that approximately 150 tonnes of concrete, 25 tonnes of steel reinforcing bars and 4 tonnes of Falsework all came down in the collapse.

Principal contractor J H Turkington & Sons Ltd, headquartered in Portadown, pleaded guilty and was fined £50,000.

Sub-contractor Ripley Developments Ltd, based in Omagh, also pleaded guilty and was fined £11,000.

After the case, Ken Logan, Head of the HSENI’s construction group said: “This incident caused injuries to six workers and could easily have resulted in a number of fatalities. The dangers of failing to manage falsework should be well known to the construction industry.  Companies have a legal duty to ensure that falsework is properly designed and erected.”