Construction continues to be the most dangerous industry in the UK, with one worker being killed and 300 seriously injured on UK construction sites every week in 2020/21. This is despite concerted efforts to tighten regulations and increase punitive action.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) continue to be updated on a regular basis and fines from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for certain safety breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) are now unlimited. The HSE brings criminal prosecutions, but over and above these fines there may also be large civil claims for damages and ongoing care.
It is within this legal and financial context that the Hawkins Built Environment (BE) Team of experienced and qualified Acoustic, Civil, Structural, Flood and Fire Engineers and Architects, can assist. Our BE team has grown from a single civil engineer in 2010 to a 20-strong multi-disciplinary team, with an average of 20 years’ industry experience. All our investigators have both design and site experience with some of the most prestigious international design consultants and on the most complex construction sites, including Canary Wharf, Crossrail, London Olympics, the Hong Kong MTR and the Singapore MRT.
WHY APPOINT HAWKINS?
We can assist you in the following areas:
We offer a range of services to provide confidence that your organisation has done all it can reasonably do to prevent accidents:
- We have the technical expertise to assess Designers Risk Assessments (DRA) to verify that risks have either been designed out or mitigated to reasonable levels at the design stage;
- We have the practical experience to review your site Risk Assessments and Method. Statements (RAMS) to ensure all relevant risks have been considered and mitigated and best practice is designed into the building methodology.
- We have the training and knowledge to carry out checks on your sites, focussing on those hot-spot areas and activities most likely to cause accidents. Our causation knowledge from investigating thousands of cases gives us an unparalleled insight into those areas that require improvement.
- We can assist in the understanding of the insurance risk relating to construction sites (e.g. CAR, PI and PL), including the technical risk and buildability issues (delays).
These services may be of interest if you are contractor, designer, developer, subcontractor, insurer or insurance broker.
If an incident does occur, we can assist in investigating and reporting on the incident:
- Investigation is our bread and butter: we carry out a detailed inspection of the site and review all the relevant documents, including drawings, RAMS, calculations and site photographs, in order to identify the likely causes (there are likely to be multiple factors at play in any given incident).
- Our reports are thorough, but easily understood and can be tailored to suit the required level of detail.
- With our team’s diverse experience and skillset, we can cover the full spectrum of possible accident scenarios, from falls from height to hand-arm vibration syndrome.
- Our geographic spread means we can investigate incidents anywhere in the world and at short notice.
Once a site accident causing an injury does occur, a prosecution by HSE and/or a civil claim by the injured party may result.
- We can assist in defending or making a claim, including subrogated recoveries, although we are of course independent, and our primary duty is to the Courts.
- Our investigation and subsequent report will assist instructing solicitors and barristers make legal decisions relating to responsibility and liability.
- Our BE investigators are all CUBS (Cardiff University Bond Solon Expert Witness Certificate) trained and certified, and our court reports comply with the relevant Criminal and Civil Procedure Rules (Part 30 and Part 35, respectively).
After an incident it is important to learn from any mistakes and to carry out any necessary improvements or repairs:
- We can provide consultancy advice to prevent similar events happening again in the future.
- If removing a risk is unavoidable, we advise on steps to take to mitigate the risk and reduce the potential damage resulting from an incident.
- We can advise on servicing, maintenance and repair regimes.
Examples of Cases Undertaken
The below three cases exemplify the wide variety of construction injury cases we have investigated, and it is highly likely that we can assist with your particular case. Please fill out our enquiry form or give us a call for a free consultation to determine how we can help.
HOW DOES HAWKINS INVESTIGATE CONSTRUCTION INJURIES?
We will always speak to you before we conduct any work, to help us understand your requirements in terms scope and timings, as well as how much information is already available, such as design drawings and calculations, RAMS, specifications and photographs. At this stage we can normally provide you with an estimate of the cost of conducting the investigation or providing the advice, although this may initially be only for the first phase, if it is a complex matter.
If required and with your agreement, we will arrange to visit the scene to inspect the site of the incident and to carry out interviews with witnesses. Wherever possible, we will retain or secure evidence, such as broken bolts and may take samples for laboratory testing.
Once our site inspection is complete, we will discuss our findings with you and prepare a report containing a detailed account of our investigation, conclusions, and where appropriate, further work or advice.
SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR EXPERTS
Falls from Height
Data from the Health and Safety Executive shows that falls from height were responsible for approximately 25% of the work-related fatalities across 2020 and 2021, and that incidents involving falls from height were the most common cause of workplace fatalities.
Many lifting operations are completed on a daily basis without any incident. However, some incidents occur as a result of an unsuccessful lifting operation and the repercussions could involve personal injuries or fatalities, equipment damage (either the lifting equipment, what it was lifting, or both) or damage to buildings and infrastructure.
According to the HSE manual handling is defined as “transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force”. It is a common risk present in multiple industries and workplaces including constructions sites, warehouses, offices and carrying out deliveries. When manual handling accidents occur there can often be more than one contributory factor and potentially large amounts of compensation at stake.
Health & Safety
Construction and demolition work is inherently dangerous and despite many improvements to the management of health and safety in the industry, accidents still happen. The factors that influence the occurrence and outcome of a construction or demolition site accident can be associated with the design and planning of the works or the way the works are executed.