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HOME BUILDER AND DIRECTOR PROSECTUTED AFTER FALL

Director and company failed to prevent falls or provide safe system of work

JBB Homes Ltd of Stockport, Cheshire a director of the company have been fined a total of £30k after a worker fell some 9m from scaffolding at a building site in Llanfairfechan, North Wales sustaining severe injuries.

Llandudno Magistrates’ Court heard that builder Nicholas Roberts, 28 years old from Rhyl, was working on scaffolding on 4 December 2007 when the incident happened. He was replacing a lintel at the time he fell from the scaffolding  fracturing his pelvis.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 2(1) and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,835. Company director, James Burt pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 37(1) (see below) and was fined £10,000.

The magistrates heard prosecution statements, denied by defendants that, steps had been taken to “hide” comany assets. Magistrates commented that an aggravating feature of the case was that the hole in the scaffolding was present for a week before the accident  

Extremely lucky to survive

Following the hearing HSE Inspector, Debbie John, said:

“Falling from a height of around nine metres, Mr Roberts was extremely lucky to survive. It’s incredible that he managed to walk away with broken bones.

“BB Homes Limited and James Burt failed in their duty to provide a safe system of work, including a lack of suitable means to prevent falls from the scaffolding. Mr Burt also failed to properly supervise his staff.

Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury and construction companies must not leave safety of their workers as an after-thought, which could lead to tragic consequences.”

Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “Where an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions committed by a body corporate is provide to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

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