North Yorkshire Firm Fined Over Crowbar Accident

One of the region’s leading construction firms has been handed a £33,000 fine after a worker was hit in the face by a flying crowbar.

Project manager Paul Powton was working on a contract to add 47 bedrooms in an extension of Ramside Hall Hotel in County Durham when the accident happened in December 2014.

The crowbar Mr Powton was using was caught between two two-tonne slabs of concrete flooring as he tried to lever them into position.

It flew into the air and hit him in the face, causing him to blackout briefly and leaving him with cuts to his face and jaw. Mr Powton also lost a tooth in the incident and has since suffered some memory loss.

The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation which revealed that the firm, Walter Thompson (Contractors) Limited of Construction House, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, had not properly planned the operation.

The firm admitted charges brought under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. As well as the £33,000 fine, it was also ordered to pay a further £12,552.81 in costs.

Oliver Campbell QC, representing the company, expressed regret over the incident and emphasises Walter Thompson’s commitment to the safety of its workers, adding this was the first time it had faced a prosecution in a century of trading.

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