Passers-by and a police car were sprayed with concrete when a site delivery went horribly wrong near Buckingham Palace.
London Concrete Pumping Limited ended-up in court over poorly maintained equipment after the pipe ruptured on May 24 2011.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the equipment was being used to pump concrete to the top of a site opposite Wellington Barracks in central London when the pipe ruptured spraying the liquid concrete at high-velocity over the vehicle and injured a passer-by.
The court was told the pump operator, believing there was a blockage in the pipe, released the pressure and started reverse pumping.
He could not see the entire length of the equipment and was told by the foreman a pipe had burst hitting people and a vehicle with concrete.
The debris caused a head injury to a woman and shattered the window of a police car 25 metres away.
The subsequent HSE investigation found the pipe had been weakened in a separate incident but had not been replaced or repaired.
Magistrates were told the reason for the rupture was due to the company’s inadequate maintenance regime which had allowed the pipe to be used.
London Concrete Pumping Ltd specialises in pumps for the piling, groundwork and concrete frame sector.
After the hearing HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said: ”It’s simply not acceptable for firms to show the level of disregard to people’s safety that London Concrete Pumping demonstrated here.
“Its failure to carry out effective maintenance on its plant and equipment meant the company put others at risk and ultimately led to a person being injured.
“Companies have a duty to ensure work activity is not only safe for workers, but also for people in the immediate vicinity. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to ensure both equipment and repair regimes are not up to scratch.”
London Concrete Pumping Ltd of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £8000 and ordered to pay £31,000 in costs.