Two companies have received substantial fines and costs orders and a director sentenced to a Community Service Order before Reading Magistrates’ Court as the result of health and safety breaches which resulted in an employee falling from a scaffold tower and suffering life changing injuries.
Nazaqat Maqsoom of Kangs Solicitors sets out the circumstances.
The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team
A Southampton based construction company was the principal contractor in relation to a refurbishment of a pub based in Reading.
A worker for the sub-contractor construction company engaged in the refurbishment suffered life changing injuries following a fall from a scaffold tower.
The Health & Safety Executive conducted an investigation regarding the incident and concluded that:
- the principal contractor failed to control the safety and planning on the site.
- the sub-contractor carried unsafe working practices
The Relevant Law | Kangs Regulatory Law Advisors
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (‘the Act’) provides:
Section 3 General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.
It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Regulation 4 (1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (‘the Regulations’):
4 (1) Every employer shall ensure that work at height is—
(a) properly planned;
(b) appropriately supervised; and
(c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation
(2) Reference in paragraph (1) to planning of work includes planning for emergencies and rescue.
(3) Every employer shall ensure that work at height is carried out only when the weather conditions do not jeopardise the health or safety of persons involved in the work.
(4) Paragraph (3) shall not apply where members of the police, fire, ambulance or other emergency services are acting in an emergency.
The Hearing | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors
The main contractor company and its director pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Act with the result that:
- the Company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £3,184.00
- the director was sentenced to a Community Service Order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
The subcontractor company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Regulations with the result that it was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £3,184.00.
An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, Ian Whittle, was quoted as saying:
“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance and in order to design and erect scaffolding in a safe manner, which does not raise risk to members of the public and workers using the scaffold.”
How Can We Help? | Kangs Health and Safety Regulatory Team
Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of health and safety law.
Our specialist solicitors 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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