Firm fined £16,000 after worker’s 5-metre plunge

Posted by SM Smith Associates on November 11, 2010  |   No Comments »

A company has been fined a total of £16,000 after a worker fell five metres at a construction site in Tunbridge Wells and suffered severe injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted ECH Ltd – trading as Maple Timber Frames and registered in Preston, Lancashire – after an incident on 18 November 2008.

A self-employed timber frame erector subcontracted to the company, was working at height on a self-build project at Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells, when he fell some five metres to the bottom of an inadequately covered stairwell. He suffered multiple fractures, including his skull. A colleague working with the injured man was unharmed in the incident.

At Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, ECH Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 towards the HSE investigation costs.

Melvyn Stancliffe, Inspector of Health and Safety, said:

“I would echo the magistrates’ statement that these were reckless breaches of the law.  The injured man is extremely lucky – despite the severity of his injuries. This sort of fall could easily have killed him.  It is all the sadder because it should have been prevented if ECH Ltd had heeded simple safety advice.

“Falls are the biggest cause of serious and fatal accidents in the construction industry and there is considerable advice, much of it free, available to dutyholders to help them ensure their employees and sub-contractors are provided with a safe working environment.”

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