A Yorkshire-based building firm has been heavily fined after it admitted two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
An unnamed 50-year-old construction worker was working for his employer, HACS Construction Limited, on 7 August 2012 when the accident occurred. On the day in question the worker was using a saw to cut through steel sheets of a mezzanine floor level when he started to unbalance. He threw the saw through the hole he had been cutting before he himself fell through the hole, plummeting a distance of twelve feet. This led to the worker sustaining serious injuries, including a fractured skull and eight broken ribs. He was unable to work for a period of time because of this but has now returned to employment.
The Health and Safety Executive were informed of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation found that there had been a number of serious breaches of health and safety by the building firm, including:
- A failure to properly risk assess jobs that the company was doing
- A failure to provide proper equipment to allow the job to be done safely (suhc as a failure to provide suitable safety harnesses)
- A failure to provide adequate training
- A failure to adequately train staff
- A failure to take suitable precautions to prevent injury to employees (such as using a “crash deck”)
The case came before the Leeds Magistrates’ Court on 5 November 2013. HACS Construction Limited pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined a total of £16,000, as well as being ordered to pay £7,847 towards the costs of the prosecution.
Neither HACS Construction Ltd nor their criminal defence solicitors appear to have commented on the case.
HSE Inspector Andy Denison stated after the judgment: “There were many failings by HACS Construction Ltd that HSE discovered. They had not properly assessed the risks of the job; they didn’t provide the correct equipment to allow it to be done safely; adequate training was not given to the two men; there was no supervision, and they failed to take suitable precautions to prevent a fall.”
Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers have an obligation to take the proper precautions to prevent injuries to their employers, and this obligation is arguably especially onerous when it comes to dealing with working at height. The business in this case failed to do this and were fined by the court because of this.”