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Construction firm fined after worker fell from staircase

Date:
9 June 2014

A Wolverhampton firm has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from a staircase during the construction of a new cinema.

The 52-year-old man from Leigh, Greater Manchester, who has asked not to be named, suffered a broken collarbone in the incident at New Square in West Bromwich on 31 May 2013.

He was working for Ereconomic Construction Limited, which was today (9 June) prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to ensure sufficient measures were in place to prevent or mitigate the fall.

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court heard that Ereconomic Construction Limited had been contracted by Odeon Cinemas to fit out the new complex. The injured man was a sub-contractor employed by Ereconomic Construction Limited to install the balustrades on a staircase within the cinema’s lobby.

There was some delay in the installation of the balustrades, which meant that the temporary edge protection at the side of the staircase at level one was still in place when a floor system was being installed.

To allow the installation of the floor, the temporary edge protection was removed. However, there was nothing implemented in the interim to prevent falls over the side of the staircase.

While attempting to retrieve some tools from the first floor landing, the worker fell one metre over the side of the staircase. He was unable to work for three months as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Ereconomic Construction Limited of Salisbury Street, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,033 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Amy Kalay said:  “Ereconomic Construction Limited failed in its duty of care to the sub-contractor, who sustained a serious injury in a wholly preventable incident.

“Falls are the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, and it is imperative that all work at height activity is subject to a high degree of management and control.

“This is one fall that could have been avoided had the edge protection been left in place, or had alternative safety measures been provided.”

Last year more than 6,300 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work. Information on preventing falls is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls 

Notes to Editors

  1. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

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