At Leeds Magistrates’ Court on the 5th March 2019 , a Lancashire based construction company (‘the company’) was fined after pleading guilty to breaches of Health & Safety Regulations which resulted in a worker falling through an open stairwell and receiving serious injuries.
Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors sets out the circumstances.
The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team
- The Court heard how an employee of the company was carrying out work to the upper floor of cricket club premises in May 2017 during their refurbishment.
- Unfortunately, having removed a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck, the worker stepped backwards and fell through the stairwell opening. The ‘genie lift’ was being removed so that steel beams could be installed.
- As the result of his fall, the worker sustained multiple fractures.
- An investigation undertaken by The Health & Safety Executive discovered that the company had failed:
- to put in place any measures to prevent a fall, even though a risk assessment had previously been undertaken which had identified gaps through which a person could fall.
- to install fixed edge protection systems and fall arrest bags.
The Relevant Law | Kangs Regulatory Law Advisors
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (‘the Act’) provides:
‘2 General duties of employers to their employees.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—
(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;
(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;
(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;
(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’
The Hearing | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Act and was:
- fined £20,000
- ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £1020
An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, Jane Towey was quoted as saying:
“Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.”
“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”
How Can We Help? | Kangs Safety At Work Solicitors
Our specialist solicitors are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the Health and Safety Executive through to enforcement, interview under caution and ultimately the defence of any ensuing criminal prosecution.
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