Breedon Trading Ltd has been fined £300,000 after blasting work at a Welsh quarry sent rocks flying into site buildings and beyond the danger zone.
Llandudno Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 15 January 2020, a blast at Cwt-y-Bugail Quarry in Llan Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, North Wales saw flyrock from the operation land 270m away, puncture the roof of an occupied work shed and put a hole in the outside pane of the occupied manager’s office skylight window.
An HSE investigation found that there were poor stemming practices, the written specification was prepared after the firing of the blast, and an inadequate danger zone was in place.
As a result there was a projection of flyrock outside of the danger zone that caused a quarry operative to run for cover and put other employees at risk when the roof of the shed they were working in was punctured.
Breedon Trading Ltd of Derby pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £2,534.80 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE’s Adrian Jurg, HM Specialist Inspector of Quarries, said: “Blasting operations at quarries are inherently high risk, and these risks must be rigorously controlled by good explosives engineering practice and in accordance with legal requirements.
“It is unacceptable that employees, and potentially members of the public, be put at serious risk of being hit by rocks that could easily lead to death or serious injury.”
A subsidiary of Stewart Milne Group overseeing the planned construction of 3,100 homes near Aberdeen has gone into administration.
FRP Advisory is now running Countesswells Development Limited (CDL) which was overseeing work at the Countesswells new town.
Around 900 homes and several commercial properties and community facilities have been built or are under construction on the site.
A spokeswoman for CDL told the Press & Journal: “We are extremely disappointed that CDL, set up to deliver Countesswells, one of the most visionary and environmentally pioneering new communities in the UK, has been placed into administration.
“We firmly believe in the future of the project and will, of course, co-operate fully with the administrators to help ensure that the vision, which many people share for Countesswells, is realised.
“In the meantime, all existing construction work on the affordable homes at Countesswells will continue, and these homes will be completed and ready to move into as planned.”
Joint administrator Tom MacLennan said: “Our immediate priority will be to secure the site and finalise current construction, including completion of much-needed affordable housing projects.
“We will be reviewing the various land bank assets in line with the development plans and will work closely with the various stakeholders on the future development of the site.”
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