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Construction firm fined after worker fell from height

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
6th November 2017
Court Hearing

West Hill Projects Ltd has been fined more than £95,000 after a worker fell from height.

Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 December 2016 the individual was working next to a large opening in a flat roof on Wandle Road in London. He fell about 3.3m through the opening to the ground below and suffered four fractured vertebrae, a fractured rib and a scalp wound. He was unable to work for several months following the incident. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that West Hill Projects Ltd had failed to take any measures to prevent people on site falling through the opening in the flat roof. People had been working in the area in the days beforehand and the company had not properly planned the project. 

West Hill Projects Ltd of Seymour Road, London pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £95,604.80 and ordered to pay costs of £988.80. 

Speaking after the incident HSE Inspector Owen Rowley said:

“The risks associated with work at height are well known throughout the construction industry. West Hill Projects Ltd failed to control the risk on site and one of its workers suffered serious injuries as a result. “It is vitally important that those in control of work at height implement suitable and sufficient measures to prevent falls. The simple step of installing edge protection around the opening could have prevented this incident from occurring."

Phoenix comments: 

Any fall from a roof inevitably involves at least a serious injury. The risks are substantial, however long or short the work. Many have been killed who only meant to be on the roof for a few minutes ‘to have a quick look’ or to carry out a small repair. If the work involves any likelihood of access within 2 m of any gaps they should be covered with a material which is fixed in position and sturdy enough to take the weight of a person. If this is not possible, provide edge protection around the gap or as a last resort install safety netting beneath the gap. The HSE guidance document ‘Health and safety in roof work HSG33’ provides further details about managing risks from working on roofs.