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Builder fined after worker suffers life-changing injuries in fall

Date:
29 August 2013

A Leicestershire builder has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he plunged six metres while repairing a second floor window.

The 50-year-old worker from Leicester, who has asked not to be named, had been sub-contracted by Peter Steans to repair wooden window frames at a house in Hazel Grove, Hallaton, near Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

He was working from a ladder extended to just under the window when he dropped a piece of window bead. As he started to climb down the ladder to retrieve it, he fell to the patio below, smashing his workbench on the way.

He was airlifted to hospital with head injuries, five fractures to his spine and a fractured pelvis and wrist.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and today (29 August) prosecuted Peter Steans for safety failings at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrates were told that the incident happened on 14 September 2012 when the worker was cutting out and replacing the sill and glazing on a small window in the second floor attic gable wall.

HSE’s investigation found a suitable tower scaffold was on site that could have been used to remove the risk of working from a ladder.

Peter William Steans, 61, of Lubbesthorpe Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £353.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said:

"The injured man had to use a walking frame and was unable to climb stairs for five months. He will never be able to return to his normal job, yet the incident and the life-changing injuries it caused could have been prevented.

"There was suitable equipment on site and Mr Steans, as the contractor in control of the work, had a duty to make sure it was put in place for use. Builders should not think that just because they use casual workers, they are not responsible for their safety. If you are in control of the work then you will be held accountable should things go wrong."

Further information on working safely at height can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/falls

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and
    enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: "Every employer shall ensure that work at height is carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe."

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