Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth firm fined after man hit by falling stone

Camberley High Street incident
Image caption The stone fell almost 26ft (8m) onto the passer by, injuring his shoulder and causing muscle spasms

A Portsmouth firm has been fined for safety failings after a passer-by was hit by an 8kg (17lb) stone that knocked him over in the street.

The 29-year-old victim, who does not want to be named, suffered cuts and bruises and muscle spasms after the masonry fell almost 26ft (8m) onto him.

The incident in Camberley High Street last May was caught on CCTV stills shown at Guildford Magistrates' Court.

Majestic Construction Ltd was fined £8,000 and told to pay £5,473 costs.

Magistrates heard the firm, based at North Harbour, Portsmouth, was undertaking work above shops to clean stonework and install pigeon spikes when the incident happened,

'Entirely preventable'

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said a mobile elevating working platform was being used correctly.

Image caption The victim, 29, was knocked to the ground by the force of the blow

However it dislodged the stone as it was being repositioned, hitting the man on the shoulder and knocking him to the ground on 31 May last year.

An investigation found that barriers had been placed around the nearside support legs of the platform.

But inspectors said there was nothing to prevent anyone from walking directly underneath the ongoing works.

Majestic Construction Ltd admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Andrew Cousins, HSE inspector, said: "This was an entirely preventable incident that resulted in a large chunk of masonry being knocked onto an entirely innocent pedestrian.

"It is pure luck that it missed his head, otherwise he could well have been killed.

"Simply fencing off the area beneath the works and providing an alternative route around it is all that was necessary".

Majestic Construction Ltd said it was unable to comment due to an ongoing claim relating to the incident.