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Bulgarian firm fined for poor work at height

Date:
18 August 2016

A Bulgarian construction firm has been fined after a member of the public reported unsafe working practices during the construction of an adventure course in Markeaton Park, Derby.

Derby Magistrates’ Court heard how a passing member of the public noticed work at height being carried out from a pallet on the forks of a telehandler at the site in Markeaton Park, where a high ropes adventure course was being constructed by Bulgarian based firm Walltopia.

The member of the public first reported this to the company but despite receiving assurances the matter would be dealt with, unsafe work at height continued. They then reported it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE’s investigation at the site found work was taking place on a section of roof 11 metres off the ground, without the use of any means to prevent two workers falling from the open edges. In addition, these workers were accessing the roof by climbing from the basket of a cherry picker.

Walltopia of Bulgaria Boulevard, Letnitsa, Bulgaria, was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,013.25 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the case, HSE Inspector Lee Greatorex said: “Using a pallet on a telehandler for planned work at height is an unacceptable means of access. It appears that the company failed to put in place control measures after being alerted about this.

“Walltopia failed to follow recognised industry standards during work at height and did not make effective changes to the control of their working methods following the matter being brought to its attention. Work at height should always be sufficiently planned and managed to protect workers from being exposed to extreme risks from falls from height. In this case someone could have suffered significant injuries or death”.

For more information about working safely at height visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.press.hse.gov.uk

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