Two companies have been fined after a worker fell more than three metres through the second floor of a building.
Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 31 March 2015, Stephen Baines, a 48 year old father of six children, was installing a CCTV security system into a four storey building. He was standing on two timber floor joists, pulling cables down from the loft through the second floor area, when he fell between the two joists and through a plasterboard ceiling pinned to the underside onto the concrete floor below, suffering serious multiple fractures.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Oriental Security Systems Limited, who had been hired to install the security system, had not properly planned the work and were unaware that the work areas had changed significantly. The company failed to put in place a safe system of work and to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to its employees.
Construction firm DPC Contracts (London) Ltd, as Principal Contractor, had the responsibility of being in control of work at the site, but failed to properly plan, manage and monitor the work. As a result, there were no measures in place, such as fixing floor coverings to the joists, fitting edge protection to the open edges or restricting access to the unprotected area.
Oriental Security Systems Limited, of Bridge Road, Mossley Hill, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5156.96.
DPC Contracts (London) Limited, of Orchard Road, Stevenage, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007, and was fined £65,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6219.56.
HSE inspector Deborah Walker said after the hearing: “The risks of working at height on site are well known and were not properly considered by either DPC Contracts (London) Ltd or Oriental Security Systems Ltd and, as a result, there was no safe system of work in place for workers to follow. These failings resulted in a CCTV engineer suffering serious and life changing injuries, which could have been prevented had the risks been properly controlled.”
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
- More information about safe working at height can be found at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk