HSE prosecute company after uncovering serious safety failings at site… A worker who fell from a construction site in East Sussex has died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the fall.
The firm who employed the worker, a director at the firm and a supervisor who was in charge of work at the site have all been prosecuted because of safety failings that were evident at the site on 10 August 2009 when the tragic accident occurred.
The accident victim, a 31 year-old male, had been working on a scaffold over-roof at the site when he fell to his death. Hastings Magistrates’ Court heard that the length of his fall and the reason for the fall remain unclear but a HSE investigation did uncover a number of safety issues that could have contributed to the accident. The scaffolding at the site had missing hand rails and incomplete platforms. The HSE was also critical of the working practices and safety culture within the company which they said weren’t of a sufficiently rigorous standard especially for as dangerous a profession as working at heights.
Prohibition Notices had been served to the company in the recent past but in spite of these the company was found to have continued with unsafe working practices and had not yet managed to change the lackadaisical attitude to health and safety that had been identified previously.
Melvyn Stancliffe, a HSE Inspector who investigated the case spoke after the hearing:
“HSE and the scaffolding industry have worked together to produce easy to follow guidance to help contractors ensure their scaffolding is safe. So there is no excuse for compromising safety – as was clearly the case here.
“HSE takes firm action against individuals and contractors who ignore their health and safety obligations. It is essential that contractors and contract managers equip themselves with the necessary information and guidance material and apply it every time a scaffold is built.”
The construction company along with the director and supervisor all pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005.
A £3,000 fine was imposed on the company in addition to costs of £5,000. The director and supervisor were also ordered to pay individual fines.