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Company fined after employee falls from bonnet of vehicle

22 November 2017

A Kendal based construction company that specialises in laying roadways has been fined after one of its employees fell from the bonnet of a tar laying machine.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that on 7 November 2016, an employee of M & W Tarmacadam Contractors Limited working at the Arkleton Estate, Langholm Dumfriesshire was standing on the bonnet of the tar laying machine to cut the branches of overhanging trees when he fell from the bonnet into the tar hopper. Darren Mundell sustained a fractured back and damaged spinal cord causing permanent paralysis from the waist down.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that M & W Tarmacadam Contractors Limited had failed to plan the task of cutting the overhanging branches and this resulted in an employee using the bonnet of the tar laying machine which was not a safe place to work.

Today, at Dumfries Sheriff Court, M & W Tarmacadam Contractor Ltd of Main Street, Stavely, Kendal was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Kirstin Lynchahon said: “M & W’s failings resulted in serious and life changing injuries which could have easily been prevented had the company planned the work at height.  Planning the branch cutting activity would have included an assessment of the risks and either avoidance of working at height using long reach tools or measures being put in place to prevent a fall.

“Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, particularly on small projects.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at


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