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MIGRANT WORKER LEFT IN COMA AFTER 5m FALL

Overall poor management of health and safety led to incident

Construction firm Montway Ltd has been fined £144,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from a roof during demolition work on 25th February 2013.

Southwark Crown Court heard that two men were working on the roof of a detached property in North London. Romanian labourer Mr. Ioan Vancea fell from the partly demolished roof and suffered serious injuries.  Scaffolding had not been provided and the work was unsupervised.

The workman fell some 5m from the roof to the ground and sustained a series of injuries including a fractured spine. He was in an induced coma for two weeks and remained in hospital for three months.

HSE inspected the site two weeks after the incident and unsupervised demolition work was still being carried out. A number of serious matters were identified including asbestos which had been removed from the house and was found in a “pile” broken pieces alongside the hedge of a a neighbouring property mixed with other debris.

Enforcement Notices were immediately served to ensure workers and members of the public were protected.

Newton hearing challenge failed

Montway Limited of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1JE pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay £43,606.15 in costs.

The company originally pleaded not guilty, but changed their plea and sought a Newton Hearing to determine numerous disputed issues. The Newton Hearing took place before District Judge Roscoe between 23-24 May 2016.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing:

“Mr. Vancea’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed. This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway Ltd’s site documents even identified it was needed.

The company sought a Newton hearing to dispute numerous issues in front of a District Judge. They were unsuccessful and the Judge’s ruling confirmed she was satisfied that their approach towards the welfare of their employees was lax and casual, and it was their overall poor management of health and safety that directly led to this incident.”

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