Two companies fined for breaches of health and safety legislation after two work

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2008-02-25 13:59:30

The Health and Safety Executive has again urged construction companies to take sensible, effective precautions to protect employees and others affected by work at height. This follows a sentencing hearing today (Friday 15 February) at Aylesbury Crown Court, at which Environmental Reclamation Ltd (ERL) of St Albans, Hertfordshire, was fined a total of 30,000, and ordered to pay 21,360.11 costs for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. ERL had on Friday 8 February been found guilty after trial at Aylesbury Crown Court following an incident that led to two of its workers suffering serious personal injury. The company had been contracted to demolish and clear farm buildings at Church Farm, Church Lane, Oving, in Buckinghamshire. On Wednesday, 17 May 2006, two men working on a derelict barn fell through a fragile asbestos cement roof and suffered multiple fractures and spinal injuries. At today’s hearing a second defendant, Clarks Construction Ltd (Clarks) of Luton, Bedfordshire, acting as the Principal Contractor on the same project, was fined 7,500, and ordered to pay 9,388.64 in costs. Clarks had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the HSWA at Aylesbury Magistrates Court. HSE Inspector Norman Macritchie, who investigated the incident said: "Today’s fines highlight the seriousness of this - entirely preventable - incident. Here, two employees, who were permitted to walk on the fragile roof of an unstable building, fell around four metres onto a concrete floor. Both suffered serious injuries and were evacuated to Stoke Mandeville Hospital by helicopter ambulance. I wish them the best possible recovery. "This incident has had devastating effects on those concerned. Construction employers should take all reasonably practicable steps to protect their workers. Falling from height is the single greatest cause of fatality in the construction industry in the UK. Work at height should always be meticulously planned, organised and carried out, if tragic incidents like this are to be avoided."

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