Building firm fined £15,000 after worker seriously injured in fall

Monday, 23rd Jun '08 at 08:40

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning employers that they must take appropriate measures to protect employees from falls, after a Darlington building firm was fined £15,000 today following an incident in which one of its workers was seriously injured.

Bussey and Armstrong Ltd, of Brinkburn Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,193 at Darlington Magistrates’ Court today. The company was also orded to pay £5,000 compensation to the injured worker and a £15 victim surcharge.

On March 29, 2007 at a new build residential property in West Park, Darlington, an employee was carrying out joinery work on the second floor using a saw horse as a working platform so that he could reach the roof joists. He was working next to an unguarded stairwell and lost his balance falling into the stairwell and 5.4 metres to the concrete ground floor. He sustained serious injuries, including crushed vertebrae and a fractured pelvis.

HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills said:

"It is totally unacceptable that so many lives of employees who work from height continue to be put at risk. Falls from height remain the most common kind of accident causing fatal injuries. Last year, 45 people died and more than 3,000 suffered a serious injury after a fall from height in the workplace.

"All companies must assess the risks from work that they are undertaking at height, ensuring that the work is planned properly and appropriate measures are taken so that workers are not exposed to risk of falling.

"This case illustrates why risks should always be properly assessed. This incident could have been avoided, and a man not seriously injured if a safe working plan was in place."
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