The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) successfully prosecuted a Principal Contractor at Luton Crown Court after an engineer fell almost 3 metres from an extension ladder.
An investigation subsequently undertaken by the HSE found that reasonably practicable measures had not been taken to prevent a fall from the internal roof for both the individual concerned and other contractors working on the roof. The investigation found that the principal contractor, Modus Workspace Limited, had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular that of falling from height.
The engineer was in the process of inspecting and testing a sprinkler system for leaks at a site in Hemel Hempstead, Herts when the incident occurred on: 5 September 2016. The engineer had climbed onto an internal roof to inspect a leak from an extension ladder resulting in the ladder slipping and him falling between the internal roof and the external wall.
The resulting injuries required a blood transfusion (as a result of him losing approx half of his blood capacity) and 14 stitches to his head. He also sustained a fractured vertebrae and soft tissue damage.
Luton Crown Court was told that Modus had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular that of falling from height.
After a five-week trial, Modus Workspace Limited of Greencoat Place, London were found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £1.1 million and ordered to pay costs of £68,116.18.
After the sentencing, HSE Inspector John Berezansky, commented: “This case highlights the importance of taking reasonably practicable measures when planning and managing the risks regarding work at height within the construction industry.
“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks and control measures associated with working at height are well known.
“The engineer’s injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safety measures had been put in place.”