Fine for construction companies after worker death

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Fines have been issued to a construction company and a glazing contractor after an employee fell to his death…

The death of a worker in Exeter has led to two companies receiving fines. Specialist construction company London Fenestration Trades Ltd was contracted by construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd to undertake work on a store front in Exeter.

The job included repairs to the glass façade above the entrance of a department store in Princess Hay.

Philip Evans, from Penarth, South Glamorgan was killed after walking along a canopy from right to left. He fell through an opening above the Bedford Street entrance of the store.

The fall was around 4.5 metres onto the granite setts below and resulted in serious injuries that led to his death.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident and found the opening had been created during previous maintenance work. A pane of the glass had been removed from the canopy and had not been replaced.

Additionally, the investigation revealed the mobile platform provided was not adequate for the level of work being conducted and the glass canopy Mr Evans was working on was unsafe.

HSE inspector Jonathan Harris said: “The risks associated with work at height are very well known and recognised in readily available guidance.

“Planning and effective coordination between contractors is a requirement of the relevant safety regulations.

“Without such planning and sufficient assessment of risk, it is foreseeable that working at height will expose operatives to risks to their safety.

“In this case Mr Evans was working from an unsafe position which exposed him to the potential of falling from the edge of the glass canopy as well as the opening through which he tragically fell.”

The two companies were charged with breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of HSWA 1974 and Regulation 4 (1) Work at Height Regulations 2005. A fine of £200,000 with costs of £17,790 was issued.

London Fenestration Trades Ltd pleaded guilty Section 2 (1) HSWA 1974 and Regulation 4 (1) Work at Height Regulations 2005. As the company is currently in liquidation the court notionally fined it £200,000 with costs of £17,790.

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