Wright Safety Solutionsestablished 2006

providing Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire small/medium businesses

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27 November 2012

An Essex building company continued to breach safety regulations during a construction project despite several visits by HSE inspectors.

Peak Construction (London) Ltd was fined nearly £15,000 after admitting breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 38 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Members of the public had raised concerns about the building work on Riverside House in Welsh Back, in Bristol city centre. Peak Construction were converting the upper floors into flats and adding two timber-framed floors at the top of the structure.

Peak Construction failed to provide workers with harnesses on the mobile elevating work platform, while no measures were taken to secure the edges of the building, scaffolding was badly constructed, and there was a risk that building materials could fall from the roof.

Bristol magistrates fined Peak Construction, based in Takeley, Essex, £10,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £4,629 over the breaches, which occurred between August and October last year 2011.

Guidance from IOSH - Work at Height

Falls from height continue to be the most common kind of fatal accident in the UK workplace. HSE figures for 2007/08 show that 55 workers (32 employees and 23 self-employed) died following a fall from height

This represents one quarter of all workplace deaths (excluding deaths on the road, which are reported separately)

The worst industry is still construction, with 33 of the 55 deaths (60 per cent)

A further 3,660 people were seriously injured by falls from height in 2007/08 for employed and self-employed. Major injuries included fractured skulls and broken legs. More than half of these injuries were to people working in the service sector, with transport, retail and office workers accounting for over 1,000 major injuries

You don’t have to fall from a great height to be hurt. Six of the 55 deaths and nearly 70 per cent of the major injuries were from a fall below head height.

How high is high?
the Work at Height Regulations 2005 define work at height as:

(a) “work in any place, including a place at or below ground level”

(b) “obtaining access to, or egress from, such place while at work, except by a staircase in a permanent workplace, where…a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

In other words, people can have major accidents falling from the TOP rung of a ladder, they can also have major accidents falling from the BOTTOM rung of a ladder, so any movement away from the ground or floor should be considered as work at height.

October 2012

A safe site provides Pedestrian/Vehicle separation

Accident data: 76% of work transport deaths (12 per year average) are "struck by vehicle" accidents, and inadequate pedestrian/vehicle segregation is a contributory factor to a large proportion of these.

The main vehicle groups involved in these accidents are lorries, construction vehicles, tractors and forklift trucks. On some sites complete separation of vehicles and pedestrians will be achievable, but this is not the case on all sites.

You should provide a system in the workplace which restricts the movement of vehicles to areas which are demarcated from areas where pedestrians have access, e.g. using physical barriers such as railings or other measures such as bollards, kerbing, pedestrian pavements or a system of painted lines on the floor, combined with appropriate signing.

If site transport is creating problems on your site ask Wright Safety Solutions to conduct a full risk assessment and advise on a realaistic and cost effective solution that protetcts pedestrians on your site.

Case study:

AGC Automotive (UK) Ltd of Northampton were fined £150,000 and costs of £9,460 after a visiting IT contractor suffered a serious multiple fracture of his left leg when he was hit by a reversing fork-lift truck on the company's premises. The serious workplace transport collision occurred because a fork-lift truck moving pallets and was manoeuvring over a walkway line. There was no separation of vehicles and pedestrians during this operation. Pedestrians should have been excluded from the area by means of temporary bollards or fencing and warning signs but no attempt at segregation was made.

A few months before the accident, following a routine inspection, AGC had been instructed to control and monitor fork-lift truck movements both inside and outside the factory units but had failed to comply adequately.

Compensation claims will be significant in this case.

25 October 2012

A Birmingham construction company has been fined for safety failings after a contractor was injured when he fell more than five metres from a ladder. Adrian Morrow was undertaking chimney repairs at a home in Sutton Coldfield, when the incident occurred in 2011.

He was working from a roof ladder, but as he made his way down it came away from its moorings. He fell onto a bag of sand being used to foot the ladder. He suffered injuries to his foot and ankle, underwent several operations and physiotherapy, and was unable to work for more than four months.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that David Hodkinson, the employing contractor, failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner. He allowed the repairs to go ahead without proper preparation; there was no safe means of roof access, and no protective measures were in place to prevent the effects of a fall.

David Hodkinson pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £500.

After the hearing the HSE inspector said "This incident was entirely preventable and had Mr Morrow not fortuitously landed on a bag of sand, his injuries could have been a lot worse. Scaffolding should have been used to carry out this work and had it been, then the incident could have been avoided".

4 October 2012

A self-employed demolition contractor has been fined after members of the public reported workers operating unsafely at roof height during the demolition of a Derbyshire pub. Colin Rogers, trading as Central Demolition & Salvage Specialists, was the principal contractor at the former Jolly Colliers pub in Ripley, in May 2011.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court was told that the HSE received complaints from three different members of the public, one of whom took photographs of some of the unsafe work taking place at the site. They showed workers on the roof of the two-storey building without any measures to prevent them from falling.

As a result, HSE gave Mr Rogers advice on safe working at height. However, during a follow-up visit to the site, Inspectors saw unsafe practices still taking place, including one worker throwing timber from the edge of the building at roof level with no safety measures to stop a fall.

Two Prohibition Notices were served by HSE preventing any further work until a suitable demolition plan was adopted and adequate fall prevention measures introduced.

The court fined Mr Rogers £2,500 and ordered him to pay costs of £2,500 after he admitted breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

3 October 2012

A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he was run over by a seven tonne digger in Mansfield. Michael Tomlinson suffered multiple injuries including a ruptured bladder, and fractured wrist, in the incident at a construction site on Jubilee Way South, in November 2010.

Mansfield Magistrates' Court heard that he was working as a groundworker for Birmingham-based Parkstone Construction Ltd to prepare the foundations for a supermarket. A reversing digger struck Mr Tomlinson after the driver failed to notice him behind the vehicle. He took the full impact of the tracks as they knocked him to the ground and crushed him underneath.

An investigation by the HSE found that Parkstone Construction Ltd had failed to ensure that workers were safely segregated from moving vehicles while work was being carried out.

The company, of Coleshill, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £15,000 with costs of £6,447.

7 September 2012

A Leicestershire house builder has been fined after two self-employed bricklayers fell more than two metres from a scaffold. Darren Bird and James Allies were contracted to help build houses at a small development in Normanton, , by Cairns Heritage Homes No2 Limited.

In December 2011 the two men were fitting a wall plate and finishing off the brickwork near the top of a house. Mr Bird had opened the scaffold's loading bay gate ready for a telehandler to lift mortar on to it when he and Mr Allies felt the scaffold shake. Mr Bird fell against Mr Allies, who was crouching down, and both men fell into the first floor of the house.

Mr Bird, 43, of Newstead Village, Nottingham, suffered severe bruising and tissue damage to his hip, pelvis and neck and lacerations to his face, arm and stomach. He recently returned to work but will require long-term physiotherapy. Mr Allies, 44, of Wollaton, Nottingham, suffered muscle and nerve damage to his neck and back and bruised his shoulder, leg, face and arms. He has not yet returned to work.

Leicester Magistrates were told HSE investigation found that although the company had a policy of installing fall protection nets when installing roof trusses, the internal fall risk area was left unprotected until that stage.

Cairns Heritage Homes No2 Limited, of Loughborough, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Magistrates fined the company £6,500 and ordered it to pay costs of £1,836

11 July 2012

A Lincolnshire builder has been fined after a spot check by the Health and Safety Executive revealed his construction site was unsafe. Andre Wilkin, trading as Hillen Projects, was the main contractor on a refurbishment scheme in Lincoln when an HSE inspector visited on 1 March 2011. A scaffold, which was not being used at the time, was found to have numerous defects and the site itself was very untidy, with numerous slips, trips and fall hazards.

Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Wilkin was verbally advised about the three issues on the day of the visit and was sent a letter two days later detailing the actions he needed to take to bring the site up to an adequate standard. A month later, a follow-up inspection was carried out but the defects on the scaffolding, which people were now working on, had not been remedied. A Prohibition Notice was served to prevent further work on the scaffold. The site was still not organised in a safe manner and the hazards noted during the initial visit were still present. A second Prohibition Notice was served to stop any further construction work until a safe means of access around the site had been established.

Andre Wilkin pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 4(1) (c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for his failings. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,800.

14 May 2012

A Northamptonshire construction company has been fined after a six-tonne dumper truck ran over a worker's foot. Self-employed ground worker Ross Smith was helping to build a roadway at a construction site in Lincoln, on 11 March 2011 when the incident happened.

During the HSE prosecution of principal contractor Maypine Construction Ltd, Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Smith and a second worker were filling the roadway with stone, in preparation for surfacing. The stone was loaded on to the dumper truck at the top of the site which was then driven to an area being filled and compacted by Mr Smith, who was operating a compacting machine. Mr Smith saw the front-loaded truck approaching the work area and began to move his machine away, but the court was told the dumper truck driver was concentrating on avoiding other obstacles and collided with Mr Smith, driving over his foot. Mr Smith suffered four broken bones in his right foot.

The HSE investigation found Maypine Construction Ltd had failed to provide a suitable traffic route around the site, failed to manage and monitor construction activity and failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment.

The company, of Raunds, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,749 costs.

26 January 2012

A construction firm has been prosecuted after a scaffolder suffered multiple injuries when he fell seven metres through a roof in Stoke-on-Trent. The employee of Fred Lewis Scaffold Company Ltd was installing scaffolding on 30 April 2010 at a factory in Newstead Industrial Estate, when he fell through the fragile roof.

Fenton Magistrates' Court heard that Gary Hampton shattered his thigh bone, bruised his lungs, broke both wrists, broke two vertebrae and cracked another. He was in hospital for six weeks and will never be able to carry out any manual work again as his injuries have left him with extremely weak wrists, which will require further surgery.

A HSE investigation into the incident found the company did not prepare or survey the job properly at the outset and failed to supervise or train its employees adequately.

Fred Lewis Scaffold Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £19,000 costs.


this page first published 12 January 2007
last updated 17 November 2020

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