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PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR PLAN PROVED INADEQUATE

Fall through new roof opening was entirely preventable 

Prestige Construction Services Ltd has been fined after fell through a rooflight opening on a construction site in Hampshire in August 2001. The workman suffered a fractured spine and was unable to work for six weeks.

Portsmouth Magistrates heard the workman was involved in constructing the roof of a new community centre. There were several openings in the roof where skylights were to be placed. However, the openings were left exposed with no coverings, guard rails or safety nets underneath.

The man fell almost 4m to the floor below, with his spine taking the impact. Magistrates were told that he is fortunate to have made such a swift recovery and sustained no lasting damage.

Incident entirely preventable

Prestige Construction Services Ltd, of West Close, Rainham, Essex, was fined a total of £30,000 and ordered to pay £9,000 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Regulation 23(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 requires the principal contractor to take steps to ensure that the construction phase plan identifies the risks to health and safety arising from the construction work and includes suitable and sufficient measures to address such risks, including any site rules.

Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 requires that where work is carried out at height measures are taken to prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

After the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Steve Hull said:

“You would expect a construction company to be fully aware of the risks posed by working at height and to take the appropriate safety precautions. Yet that clearly didn’t happen here, and the employee could easily have paid with his life as a result.

The incident was entirely preventable had Prestige Construction Services put effective measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall – as is essential at all times during roofing work.”

 

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