Site security guard froze to death on Scottish windfarm job

Contractor Farrans and a security specialist have been fined a total of £868,800 after a site guard froze to death on a remote windfarm job in Ayrshire.

Ayr Sheriff Court heard that just after midnight on 22 January 2018, Ronald (Ronnie) Alexander, a 74-year-old security guard employed by Corporate Service Management Limited, was found by Police Scotland’s Mountain Rescue Team at Afton Windfarm, near New Cumnock.

He was found lying face down and hypothermic, in deep snow and died later that day having never regained consciousness.

Corporate Service Management Limited was contracted by Northstone (NI) Limited, who trade as Farrans, to provide security for the site.

Following a site visit by the managing director and operations director of Corporate Service Management, it was agreed that two guards would be required because it was known that mobile phone signals offsite were very poor.

Around lunchtime on 21 January, as forecast, the weather deteriorated resulting in deep drifts on the road to the site from New Cumnock, and the road between the gatehouse where Alexander worked and the site compound where his colleague was stationed.

Although mobile phone communications were known to be poor and inconsistent at the site there was no landline. Two-way radios were available, but these could only be used for the guards to speak with each other and not offsite.

An HSE investigation found that when preparing their emergency weather plan, Northstone (NI) Ltd had failed to include those times when nobody from the company would be present at the site.

The company also failed to ensure there was a back-up generator at either of the guard’s locations to ensure that their welfare area would have heating and lighting should the main generator fail, despite this having occurred on several occasions previously.

Northstone (NI) Ltd did not ensure that Alexander or his colleague had a reliable means of calling for help.

At around 5pm, Alexander’s colleague managed to obtain a signal on his mobile phone and reported to Corporate Service Management’s control room that not only had the generator failed, but that the only means of transporting the men offsite, a 4×4 vehicle, had become trapped in the deep snow at the site compound.

Despite this, Corporate Service Management did not call the emergency services until after 9pm.

Corporate Service Management’s emergency plan relied on there being effective communication between the guards and their control room, however they failed to provide this or to make sure that Northstone (NI) Ltd had provided this at the site.

Northstone (NI) Limited of Belfast pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £768,000.

Corporate Service Management Limited of Glasgow also pleaded guilty and was fined £100,800.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gerard Muir said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided had either company ensured that a suitable assessment had been made of the risk to those working at the site in poor weather, that suitable and sufficient means had been provided for the guards to communicate offsite, and that back-up generators had been provided, particularly when they knew how often the main generator had failed.

“By simply carrying out these correct control measures and ensuring safe working practices at this site, this tragic event could have been avoided.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Notting Hill Genesis seeks firms for £1.2bn building safety deal

Housing association Notting Hill Genesis is on the hunt for firms for a £1.2bn framework to support its building safety and planned investment programmes over the next 15 years.

The framework, which will run for four years with an option to extend, is split into five lots each with specialist contractors.

Procurement for the framework will start in January, ready to formally commence in October 2022.

Lotting structure

Planned investment works: Building envelope and communal spacesPlanned investment works: Kitchen and bathroomsBuilding safety works: Cladding remediation and wider capital worksBuilding safety works: Cladding remediation onlyFire Risk Assessment Remediation Works: (Active and passive fire safety)A meet the buyer event is planned for December that will be open to all organisations that have registered their interest.

Katie Bond, group director for sales and building safety, said: “Keeping our residents and buildings safe is our first priority and this framework, the largest assets framework in our history, outlines the scale and ambition of our programme.

“We have established a dedicated building safety team who will be supported by our framework to carry out the vital work needed to ensure our buildings meet the latest regulations.

“This is a complex, long-term programme that will run for many years and our framework will enable us to be more dynamic once problems are identified and allow works to be carried out swiftly and professionally.”

Elly Hoult, group director of assets, added: “We invest huge amounts each year in the upkeep of our housing stock whether through external redecoration, replacing windows or roofs and making sure kitchens and bathrooms meet modern standards.

“Raising the standards of our homes helps us meet our environmental aspirations, such as having all our homes having energy performance certification of a C-rating or above by 2030 and ensure our residents have somewhere they are proud to call home.

“We look forward to working with those on our framework to best meet the needs of our residents over the coming years.”

Contractors can register interest in the meet the buyer event on a dedicated page


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Morgan Sindall wins £50m Hertfordshire Uni science block

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business is set to start work on the University of Hertfordshire’s planned School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science.

A central site at the University’s College Lane Campus in south Hatfield has already been cleared for the landmark 165,000 sq ft project.

It is designed as a five-storey steel-frame building compartmentalised into three separate internal blocks divided by a central T-shaped atrium.

The design will be developed by the Morgan Sindall Construction team and its design team of ADP Architecture and Aecom utilising BIM 360.

It will include several innovative elements and will aim for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. 

Morgan Sindall Construction’s innovative Carbon Calculator – Carbonica –will be used on the project to assess and measure project-embodied and operational carbon.

The facade will consist of a mix materials from corrugated metal, paying homage to aircraft hangers and the original technical college founded by De Havilland, to bickwork and curtain walling.

The building has been designed with a view to maximising design for manufacture and assembly principles using a common primary 9m x 9m structural grid across the entire building which facilities a high degree of commonality across elements, reducing the need for ‘special’ panels.

Central full height atrium

David Rowsell, Northern Home Counties area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Morgan Sindall Construction has successfully completed 10 projects for the University of Hertfordshire since 2005

“The SPECS building will be one of the most prestigious schemes delivered in the Northern Home Counties over the next few years and we are delighted to have been selected by the client to deliver it.

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