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BUILDER PROSECUTED AFTER HOME LEFT IN UNSAFE STATE

Householder suffered life threatening injuries in 3m fall down stairs at his home

Mack Construction (Robin Atherton T/A) has been prosecuted after a householder fell from the top of a new staircase left without a handrail by a local builder during refurbishment work at his home in June 2010.

Sheffield Magistrates heard (2 April) that the injuries were life-threatening and involved a broken spine, massive head injuries and several broken ribs. He spent several months in hospital and had to “learn to walk again” and talk properly again after a tracheotomy affected his speech. 

Temporary handrail should have been fitted

Mr Atherton, of Jordanthorpe View, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for safety failings. He was fined £5,000 with costs of £4,000.

Inspector Medani Close, who carried out the investigation, said the case had been a whisker away from being a fatality.

“Mr Hall was lucky to survive the devastating injuries he sustained in this fall. But his life was shattered and it also had a huge impact on his wife, Sally, and his business.

However this tragic fall could so easily have been avoided. The simplest of measures, a temporary handrail fitted to the open side of the new staircase in his home, could have prevented his fall and saved a huge amount of suffering.

It is a vivid and sad reminder that unnecessary risks are taken far too often in construction, one of the most dangerous sectors of industry.”

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