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Safety equipment
Safety equipment

A relocation and refurbishment company has been fined £1.1m after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from height. Luton Crown Court heard that in September 2016, an engineer from the London-based firm was testing a sprinkler system for leaks at a site in Hemel Hempstead. His ladder slipped away from him whilst inspecting the leak and he fell almost three metres into the gap between the internal roof and the external wall. The worker sustained life-threatening injuries which saw him lose around half of his bloodstream in addition to a fractured vertebrae and soft tissue damage.

The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who found that reasonably practicable measures had not been taken to prevent a fall. It was identified that the company, working in the capacity of principal contractor, had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular that of falling from height.

This case highlights the importance of taking reasonably practicable measures when planning and managing the risks regarding work at height within the construction industry. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks and control measures associated with working at height are well known. The engineer’s injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safety measures had been put in place.

After the sentencing, HSE inspector John Berezansky, commented:

Andrew Regel, HSE Technical Lead at leading risk management firm Ligtas highlighted the lessons that can be learnt from this accident saying: “This case should be seen as a red flag to businesses – they must have a firm grip on risk management and avoid complacency. The use of ladders is a high risk activity and employers must ensure that they fulfil key requirements - a robust risk assessment has to be carried out and implemented, and workers have to be properly trained and competent. “Furthermore, it’s a common misconception that a fatality has to occur before a large fine is imposed. This case shows that companies may still have to pay in excess of a million pounds where injuries are sustained.”

Andrew Regal HSE Technical Lead at Ligtas

Ligtas Consultancy and Training will work in partnership with you to provide full support in all aspects of health and safety compliance. Details of our risk information on online Work at Height Awareness training can be found here. Call 02922 800 000 or email enquiries@ligtas.co.uk.