Two companies prosecuted after 40 year old man dies at unsafe work site…
A self-employed work contracted to work as a scaffolder has died as a result of a fall from a height of 19 metres at a Swansea building site.
Two companies were jointly prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after their investigation into the incident which occurred on 22 January 2008.
Swansea Crown Court was told that the accident victim was in the process of dismantling a platform on the fourth floor of the apartment suite that was being built when he suffered the massive fall. Another man who was working directly below the self-employed man was lucky to survive when the faller almost collided with him on the way down.
The 40-year-old accident victim sustained multiple injuries in the fall including a fractured skull and was immediately transported to a local hospital where died two days later.
The subsequent HSE investigation into the accident found that the concrete firm responsible for the site didn’t have the necessary health and safety management protocols in place including communication, instructions and general site maintenance.
The construction company who contracted the man who fell were also prosecuted for failing to ensure the safety of their employees. The company was particularly criticised for allowing their employees to participate in their work duties at a site where little or no health and safety measures had been implemented thus needlessly increasing the risks associated with working at heights.
The construction company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £130,000 in addition to costs of £52,500.
The concrete structures company responsible for the site admitted breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The judge admitted he would have fined them £250,000 but they have since gone into administration and as a result of their insolvency all he could do was impose a token fine of £85.
HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells commented after the hearing had closed:
“Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry and this is the tragic reality of what can happen when adequate arrangements are not in place to manage health and safety.
“The man’s children and family will have to live with the consequences the defendants’ failings for the rest of their lives.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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