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    CLIENT AND CONTRACTOR FACED COURT TOGETHER

    Firms breached joint duty to plan and carry our work at height safely

    Two companies have been fined after a workman suffered permanent damage to his eyesight following a fall from a building in April 2016.

    Dudley Magistrates heard how the contractor was engaged to repair a section of pipework on the roof of a warehouse owned by the client. During the work an employee of the contractor slipped, fell and struck his head causing permanent blindness in one eye and blurred vision in the other.

    Contractors must be managed

    HSE investigators found “multiple failings” in relation to how the work, specifically access to the roof, was planned, managed and monitored.

    Neither company had undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, nor had they agreed a safe system of work for the repair of the pipework which required access to the roof.

    • Kingswinford Engineering Co Limited – of Shaw Road, Dudley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.
    • James Durrans & Sons Limited – of Anchor Road, Bilston pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.

    Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Edward Fryer commented:

    “This incident highlights the need for contractors to be managed properly. Both the contractors and those engaging them must assess the risks of the site and the specific work to ensure it can be done safely. In this case, no risk assessment was carried out and arrangements made to access the roof put workers at significant risk of falling from height leading to this worker suffering a life-changing injury.”

     

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