The Health and Safety Executive has warned the construction industry of the need to ensure that work at height is properly managed following the prosecution of the principal contractor on Europe’s largest city centre regeneration project.
The warning follows the prosecution of Laing O’Rourke Construction Ltd after one of their employees, William Taylor, fell over three metres during the construction of concrete stairs inside one of the main apartment blocks on the project.
He sustained multiple serious head and other injuries and narrowly escaped falling three floors to the base of the building. Two other workers also escaped injury whilst working in the same unprotected area.
The incident happened on the 13 August 2007 at Liverpool One, the key development of Liverpool City Centre to mark the 2008 European City of Culture.
Laing O’Rourke Construction Ltd has been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs at Liverpool Crown Court.
The company pleaded guilty to a charge brought under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Section 2(1) in that they failed to ensure the health and safety of their employees during the construction work.
Health and Safety Executive Principal Inspector Nic Rigby said:
“This prosecution should act as a warning to all those involved in the management of construction work. It was down to chance alone that this incident did not result in a fatality. That risk would have been avoided had the planning and management of the work being carried out not been so deficient.
“The accident occurred because the company failed to make adequate risk assessments and plan a safe system of work. This accident happened on the 3rd floor of the building.
Had the accident not occurred this same system of work would have been repeated on every one of the 12 floors of the building. A fall from that height would clearly have had much more serious consequences.”