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NON-INJURY INCIDENT ATTRACTS £500,000 FINE

Poor control of work at height hits Bulgarian firm in pocket

Bulgarian construction firm Walltopia has been fined £500,000 after a member of the public reported unsafe working practices during the construction of an adventure course in Markeaton Park, Derby.

Derby Magistrates’ Court heard how a passing member of the public noticed work at height being carried out from a pallet on the forks of a telehandler at the site where a high ropes adventure course was being constructed.

The member of the public first reported this to the company but despite receiving assurances the matter would be dealt with, unsafe work at height continued. The member of the public then reported the concern to HSE.

HSE investigators found work was taking place on a section of roof 11m above the ground without the use of any means to prevent two workers falling from the open edges. In addition, these workers were accessing the roof by climbing from the basket of a cherry picker.

Failed to follow industry standards

Walltopia of Bulgaria Boulevard, Letnitsa, Bulgaria, was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,013.25 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the case, 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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