A window fitting company and the principal contractor at a construction site have been fined for safety failings after a worker fell three metres (nearly 10 feet) whilst installing glazed units.
Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard how, in November 2014, an employee of GFT Frames Limited (GFT), was installing glazed units in a block of flats on a construction site in Bournemouth, where Parsons and Joyce Contractors Limited (P&J) were principal contractors.
Darren Shepherd, aged 54, of Bournemouth, an employee of GFT, had been carrying window frames through the stairwell of the block of flats under construction. There were no stairs in place, just a ledge which was part of the structure that would act as a landing half way up the stairs once they were installed.
After completing the unloading of all the frames, Mr Sheppard and a colleague were accessing the first floor, up through the void. As Mr Sheppard climbed onto the first floor from the ledge, he slipped, falling approximately 1.7metres back to the landing and then a further 1.3 metres to the ground floor. He sustained two fractured ribs and a broken thumb.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found GFT had failed to properly plan, supervise or carry out the work at height in a safe manner and that Parsons and Joyce failed to plan manage and monitor the construction phase and failed to provide workers with a site induction.
GFT Frames Limited, of Vantage Way, Poole, Dorset, was fined a total of £6,000, and ordered to pay £9,953 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Parsons and Joyce Contractors Limited, of Ashley Road, Poole, Dorset, was fined a total of £20,000, and ordered to pay £9,953 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Regulation 22(1)(a) and 22(2)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Commenting on the case, Lara Murray an employment law and health & safety expert with Palmers, said: “The risks of working at height are well known and should be controlled using simple but effective measures.
“On this occasion, both companies failed to protect workers on this construction site and it’s not surprising that hefty fines resulted, which demonstrates how seriously both HSE and the Courts view breaches of health and safety regulations.”
For more information on how Palmers’ employment and health and safety specialists can assist your construction or engineering company, please contact us.