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Worker falls through unprotected opening

Worker falls through unprotected opening

4 January 2020 Email this article

 Construction company, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd was sentenced for safety breaches after worker, Mark Smith, fell 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 28 April 2016, Mr Smith, aged 36, was working at Stone Gappe Hall, Lothersdale, Keighley, owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of the McAlpine group of companies. Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank whilst preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Smith fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. As a result, he sustained serious injuries including: a right tibial shaft fracture, a distal fibular fracture, a fracture to the left patella, orbital and nasal fractures, lacerations to the face, a concessional head injury, injury to his ribs and he was hospitalised for nine days. Mr Smith continues to suffer from psychological damage and has been unable to return to work.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning of the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”