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REFURB CONTRACTORS FINED £1.1 MILLION

Tenant fell 5m through fragile surface whilst walking to home

Two construction firms have been fined a total of £1.1m after a tenant suffered serious injuries when she fell through a fragile surface in June 2015.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the tenant was injured whilst gaining access to her flat when she fell 5.5m through a fragile surface and  suffered serious injuries including a fractured pelvis.

The balcony walkway was the sole access to and from the flat and, although construction workers had been working on it for the previous four days, the tenant had not been informed of the work or of any associated risks. There were no physical barriers in place to prevent her from stepping into the balcony walkway.

HSE investigators found that the principal Contractor was undertaking a programme of remedial refurbishment works at the Du Cane Estate in Hammersmith and Fulham and that the top floor balcony walkways throughout the estate needed to be replaced. The contractor appointed to undertake the refurbishment of the balconies started this work in June 2014.

Prior incident revealed risk

In August 2014, it came to the attention of both parties that the balcony replacement work involved exposing, and then working around, a fragile surface, when operatives partially fell through the cement soffit within the balcony.

However, it was only after the later injury that the companies put sufficient steps in place to protect workers and members of the public from falling from height.

  • Engie Regeneration (Apollo) Limited – of Benton Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and has been fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,518.54.

The company were found to have failed to plan, manage, monitor, and coordinate the balcony refurbishment works to ensure the work was carried out without risks to the health and safety of their operatives or members of the public.

  • Superior Roofing and Building Services Ltd – pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,693.94.

The company failed to ensure the balcony replacement works were properly planned and failed to select suitable and sufficient control measures to prevent operatives or members of the public falling from height during the works

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Sharon Boyd said:

“This incident could easily have been avoided if the companies had ensured that workers and members of the public were protected. Companies should be aware that they are at risk of being prosecuted by the HSE if they do not do what is reasonable to protect people.”

 

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