Do not try to make do on site. That's the message of a £20,000 fine for a company plus suspended prison sentences and fines for individuals after a subbie suffered multiple fractures, a bleed on the brain and facial nerve damage in a fall.
The subbie was an electrician and what he fell from was a damaged light weight staging (LWS) being used as a ladder.
Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court heard on 30 May how, on 1 December 2016, the electrician was working at a house in Nantwich, Cheshire. The property was owned and was being refurbished by self-employed contractor Steven Dixon. While exiting the loft, the electrician fell from the damaged board spanning the stairwell, landing on the concrete floor below and suffering the injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Karl Grice and Sean Mullan, Directors of Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd, of Knowsley Industrial Park, Liverpool, working onsite, and Mr Dixon himself were fully aware that the damaged LWS was being used as a makeshift ladder. Indeed, they had used it themselves. They were also aware of the unprotected edges of the stairwell, but had not carried out risk assessments, identified which control measures were needed, nor implemented suitable safety measures to protect workers on the site.
Green Generation Renewable Services pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,548.28
Karl Grice of Highmarsh Crescent, Newton-Le-Willows, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015, by virtue of Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was given a 16-week suspended prison sentence, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
Steven Paul Dixon of Warmingham Grange Lane, Sandbach, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was also given a 16-week suspended prison sentence, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
Sean Mullan of Argyle Road, Garston, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 by virtue of Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Deborah Walker said: “This incident could have so easily have been prevented. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injuries and the risks associated with working at height are well known. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary safety measures.”