A South Belfast construction company has been fined nearly £30,000 after a man was killed while working at a site in England.

Carryduff company CM Structural Services Ltd received the penalty after the death of Hugues Makambila, who was killed when a steel beam weighing more than a tonne fell on him while being unloaded from a lorry in June 2008 at a construction site in Brentford.

The company, based at Killynure Road, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 over the incident.

The Old Bailey in London heard last Tuesday (February 7) that on the morning in question, a lorry load of steel beams arrived on site and parked alongside a pedestrian walkway in an area not designated for unloading.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a company director of CM Structural Services had noticed a steel beam was hanging over the right side of the lorry but no measures were taken to restrain the load or to prevent the beam from falling.

CM Structural Services began unloading the steel using a forklift truck but it did not put any measures into place to prevent people walking down the pavement, nor did it put up any signs warning people that unloading was taking place During unloading, a steel beam weighing 1,382kg fell from the lorry onto the pedestrian walkway and onto Mr Makambila, who was a cleaner on site. He died instantly.

Also fined at the court were Enniskillen company Fisher Engineering Ltd who were responsible for the manufacture, delivery and installation of the structural steelwork. In turn Fisher Engineering had contracted CM Structural Services to erect the steelwork.

CM Structural Services were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,692 while Fisher Engineering were fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,595.

HSE inspector Lisa Chappell said the accident was “easily preventable”.

“The risks involved in the handling and delivery of steel stock are well known to those in the industry. Appropriate measures to control these hazards should have been in place.

“These measures are neither costly nor time consuming, yet the failures of the companies involved in this incident contributed to the death of a respected worker whose family continues to grieve the loss of a son, brother and husband.”

Despite repeated attempts by the SBN to contact CM Services no-one was available for comment.