The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning the construction industry of the dangers of working at height. The call follows the prosecution of a Swansea man after a worker received serious injuries in a fall at work.
Arthur David Fletcher was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6257.40 after pleading guilty to a charge under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when he appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court.
Fletcher, of Dunvant Road, Swansea, was the principal contractor and manager of the site for a new supermarket and accommodation in Station Road, Penclawdd. He employed Dorian Skippon to undertake construction work, and on 30 June 2006, Mr Skippon was working with three others on constructing a temporary floor when a joist collapsed. He fell two and a half metres onto the floor below, resulting in serious leg injuries.
HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells said: “Falls from height are the single most common cause of fatalities in the construction industry, and Mr Skippon is still experiencing the effects of his injuries more than two years later. “There were a number of serious failings which led to this incident. The risks of working at height were not properly identified or addressed, and no fall protection was provided for workers.
“Despite this incident, an unannounced inspection by HSE just over a month later showed that there was still a failure to manage risks from working at height, including an absence of guard rails on scaffolding, poor access from the building to external scaffolding and unprotected openings which were large enough for workers to fall through.”
The 2009 Shattered Lives Campaign will target those most at risk from slips, trips and falls, and those best placed to take action to prevent them, such as employers. The HSE website also contains advice and guidance on the best way to assess and manage risks from working at height.