Construction company fined £6,000 for work at height failings

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Stan England Builders has been fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he fell from a mezzanine level onto a wooden platform

Alan Ness was working for Stan England Builders at a residential property in Banchory on 31 March 2016.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how he began taping areas on the ceiling of a mezzanine level. He gained access to this level by a wooden platform which had a ladder propped against it. As he was working close to the edge of the mezzanine level, he lost his footing and stumbled a drop of 18.5cm onto the wooden platform.

He was unable to regain his footing and fell a further 2.5 metres head first onto the floor below. He sustained head, back and neck injuries.

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that there was no edge protection on the wooden platform and no safe system of work had been put in place.

Ness had received no formal training for work at height or working on ladders and he had a lack of knowledge and awareness of the hazards associated with work at height. Stan England Builders Ltd failed to supervise appropriately and had not corrected deficiencies, despite visiting shortly before the accident there was no written risk assessments for this task.

Stan England Builders pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000.

Safe methods of working

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Connor Gibson said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. In this case, a different and simple approach of using edge protection on the wooden platform could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee.”

Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005

Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

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