Firm fined £500k for safety breaches

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A construction firm has been fined £500,000 for breaching health and safety regulations for working at height…

Breaching work at height regulations has seen a construction firm issued with a £500,000 fine.

The incident occurred during the construction of an adventure course at Derby’s Markeaton Park. Bulgarian-based firm Walltopia was building the Closer to the Edge high ropes attraction in 2015 when a member of the public reported safety issues.

The individual said work was being carried out from a pallet on the forks of a telehandler. This was reported to Walltopia, but the business continued to carry out work unsafely.

The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found work was undertaken on a section of roof 11 metres off the ground. No safety measures were in place to prevent falls and workers were accessing the roof via the basket of a cherry picker.

The case was brought before Derby Magistrates’ Court. Walltopia pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The firm was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,013.

HSE inspector Lee Greatorex said: “Using a pallet on a telehandler for planned work at height is an unacceptable means of access. It appears that the company failed to put in place control measures after being alerted about this.

“Walltopia failed to follow recognised industry standards during work at height and did not make effective changes to the control of their working methods following the matter being brought to its attention.

“Work at height should always be sufficiently planned and managed to protect workers from being exposed to extreme risks from falls from height. In this case someone could have suffered significant injuries or death.”

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