Birmingham electrician Mr Soheil Alipour has been ordered to carry out unpaid community work after his trainee fell 3.5 metres through a false plasterboard ceiling while installing wiring.
Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard that apprentice electrician Soheil Afrapour spent 23 days in hospital with the resulting head injuries. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there had been no proper planning for work at height and Alipour did not fulfil his duty of care.
Soheil Alipour of Selly Oak, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Work at Height Regulations 9(2) 2005. He was given 120 hours unpaid community work and ordered to pay full costs of £1152.24. HSE Inspector Gareth Langston said: “It’s important that employers put the safety of their workers, especially young inexperienced apprentices, at the forefront of their plans and consider precautions when working at height. This incident could have been prevented if there was proper planning in place using boards above or scaffolding below.”
In 2016, 26% of all fatalities in the workplace were caused by falls from heights. This incident could have been avoided with effective risk management to ensure that all work at height, including work on false ceilings, is properly planned, properly supervised and carried out safely.
The Working at Heights Regulations stipulate the hierarchy of control via three simple steps:
- Avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so.
- Where work at height cannot be avoided, prevent falls by using either an existing place of work that is already safe, or the right type of equipment.
- Where the risk cannot be eliminated, minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the right type of equipment.
Considering the risks associated with work at height, and putting sensible and proportionate measures in place to manage those risks, are important aspects of working safely.