Two Hampshire based companies have been fined after the death of a 42-year old man.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard that on 20 July 2012 the sub-contractor working for Quality 1st Building Services Ltd was undertaking remedial work to a roof at a domestic property in Ringwood, Hampshire when he fell seven metres from the roof to the ground and later died of head injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found neither the principal contractor for the site E.P. Abley Ltd nor Quality 1st Building Services Ltd failed to ensure the roof work being undertaken had the correct edge protection to prevent falls from height occurring. It was also found both companies failed to clearly communicate and co-ordinate the work being undertaken on the site in a safe and appropriate manner.
Quality 1st Building Services Ltd of Northfield Road, Ringwood, Hampshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2015, and has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,500. E.P. Abley Ltd of Avon Castle Drive, Ringwood, Hampshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £26,667 and ordered to pay costs of £22,500.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Caroline Penwill said:
“This case highlights the importance of properly planning work at height, to avoid tragic incidents such as this. “This death could have easily been prevented had both companies taken safety measures before any work at height had begun.”
Falls from height account for 3 out of 10 fatal injuries every year, with half of all fatal falls in construction.
This incident could have been avoided with effective risk management, ensuring 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 using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment; minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated. Considering the risks associated with work at height and putting in place sensible and proportionate measures to manage them is an important part of working safely.
Further details regarding working at heights available from the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/height.htm