Oracle Interiors Ltd was fined last week by Westminster Magistrates Court following an investigation and prosecution arising out of an incident injuring a number of people in March 2012.

Oracle had erected hoarding around a site in Oxford Street where works were to be carried out at Mango, the clothing store. However, the hoarding was inadequately secured and collapsed the following day. A number of people were trapped by the hoarding and sustained injuries, some serious.

Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the accident’s circumstances. It identified that, despite the fact that Oracle had its own employees and other contractors working around the hoarding and that it ran along a busy shopping area, the company had not taken sufficient steps to secure the hoarding so that it could withstand weather conditions and impact from passers by.

Oracle pleaded guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £13,069 in costs.

Philippa Luscombe, partner in the specialist personal injury team at Penningtons Manches LLP comments: “There are extensive regulations in place for operations at construction sites. In a situation such as this, where a high volume of people would be moving around the hoarding on a day to day basis and given its size and weight, the failure to ensure that the hoarding was adequately secured was a serious one. This was a nasty incident and it is probably lucky that the injuries caused were not more serious. Construction site safety is a significant problem and we are regularly talking to people who have suffered injuries resulting from basic safety failings. It is good to see the HSE being pro active in prosecutions and, hopefully, the publicity about this case will help to encourage other contractors to ensure the safety of hoardings erected around construction sites."