Sole trader sentenced after worker sustains serious injuries in fall from height

Sole trader, Ian Pitman, has been fined after a sub-contractor fell five metres through a sky light onto a concrete floor.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard how on 20 July 2017 a man working for Ian Pitman was renewing the guttering between two buildings in Chipping Sodbury in Bristol. While fitting a roof panel back into place he fell backwards through a sky light, hitting the rail of a lift truck below and landing on the concrete floor. He suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull and broken ribs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Pitman failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and safe in such a way as to ensure that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

Ian Pitman of Kingston St Michael, pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He received a four-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months and given 180 hours of unpaid community work. He was ordered to pay costs of £13,500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stacey Gamwell, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. This serious incident could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.

“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We 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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. More information about working safely at height can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis60.pdf