Employers have been warned to ensure they assess the risks of falling from height in the workplace and provide safe systems of work.
This follows Health and Safety Executives prosecution of Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham Ltd (VESB), of James Road, Tyseley, Birmingham and its contractor Hansen Transmissions Ltd (HTL), of Nile Street, Huddersfield.
On 5 July 2007, an employee of HTL was working to replace a gearbox within a condenser unit at VESBs premises when he fell more than 10 metres. Fortunately, he landed on a pallet of bundled narrow bore copper pipes, which broke his fall by absorbing much of the impact. However, he suffered serious injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung and a hernia.
HTL was fined a total of £70,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs by Birmingham Crown Court on 3rd July 2009 after the company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
VESB was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs at the same hearing after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.