The importance of health and safety regulations has been brought to attention after a construction worker fell from a roof, suffering serious injuries and requiring multiple surgeries and resulting in £31,000 fines for the companies involved.
In January 2016, the man was working as a sheeting cladder on a construction site at a factory in West Yorkshire. He was working on the factory roof at the time of his fall, affixing sheet metal classing and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building.
Whilst tying the cappings to the roof, the man fell through a roof light and down a 9.7m drop into the active factory area below, landing on a storage case.
He suffered an open fracture to his femur and multiple fractures to his pelvis. He underwent surgery to insert six pins into his pelvis, two pins to the top and two pins to the bottom of his femur.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that whilst there had been scaffolding constructed upon the roof, it had been removed prior to cladding works being completed. Instead, the use of Spandeck boards with guardrails meant that workers could not affix the handrails in an appropriate position.
No nets had been used in the below area of the factory where the man ultimately fell.
The case was heard at Leeds Magistrates Court, where the incident was labelled “wholly avoidable” by the HSE inspector.
The construction firms pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work (HSWA) Act 1974 and were ordered to pay fines totalling £31,000.
HSWA Section 3 places general duties on employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure, so far is reasonably practicable, that persons other than themselves or their employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Other similar cases in the news this month have highlighted the responsibility of employers to follow health and safety regulations. One case in East Anglia saw two contractors fined £80,000 after a demolition worker was badly burned in an electrical fire.
A further case saw the Land and Property arm of the Greater London Authority fined a quarter of a million pounds for severe failings in safety management after a wall collapsed onto a man in front of his wife and two children.
All companies managing a potentially dangerous building or construction site have a legal responsibility to make sure it is safe. An accident can cause lasting psychological or physical injury. These life-changing incidents can often affect both the individual involved and their friends and family.
Pryers has years of experience acting on behalf of people injured at work. If you or someone you know has concerns over an accident on a building or construction site that may not have been your fault, speak to our team to see how we can help on 01904 55 66 00, or get in touch today.