Company fined for not ensuring fall safety precautions
A building and restoration company in Wimbledon and a fire escape business in Croydon have been fined after a worker fell six storeys from a roof while working at a building in Kensington, London.
The Old Bailey heard that Triton Building Restoration Ltd was the principal contractor and had subcontracted the restoration of the cast iron fire escape and external repair and painting of Abingdon Villas to Fire Escape Ltd.
On 4 December 2008, James Richards was working on the site as a self-employed labourer when he fell six storeys (approximately 18 metres) down an unguarded light well, which is a shaft in the centre of the building to give natural light. As a result of the fall, Mr Richards suffered broken bones in his back, a broken arm, pelvis and rib, a punctured lung and had to have his spleen removed. He was hospitalised for 22 days and bed-bound for a further three months. He has not returned to work since and still suffers pain due to his injuries.
HSE's inspector Monica Babb said:
"This was a serious and entirely preventable incident that will affect Mr Richards for the rest of his life.
"Companies should ensure that safety precautions to prevent falls from height are monitored to ensure that they are not removed where access to work at height is still possible.
"Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry and the biggest single cause of death and serious injury at work. In 2008/9, there were 35 deaths and more than 4,000 major injuries caused by falls from height."
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Triton Building Restoration Ltd and Fire Escape Ltd for breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 that led to the incident on 4 December 2008 at Abingdon Villas, Abingdon Court, Allen Road.
Triton Building Restoration Ltd of 14 Saxon Business Centre, Windsor Avenue, Merton pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000 with £11,339.55 costs.
Fire Escape Ltd of 141 Queens Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was fined £3,500 with £11,300.55 costs.