Hemel firm slapped with £260,000 fine after worker suffers multiple fractures from 15ft fall

A Hemel Hempstead construction company has been slapped with a £260,000 fine after a worker fell more than 15 feet through an unprotected opening.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 11:33 am

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on April 28, 2016, Mark Smith was working at Stone Gappe Hall, Keighley, owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of Maylands-based Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.

Mr Smith, 36, was attaching straps to a water tank whilst preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Smith fell through an opening which did not have fixed edge protection.

Credit: Health and Safety Executive

As a result, he suffered serious injuries including: a right tibial shaft fracture, a distal fibular fracture, a fracture to the left patella, orbital and nasal fractures, lacerations to the face, a concessional head injury, injury to his ribs and he was hospitalised for nine days.

The court heard how Mr Smith continues to suffer from psychological damage and has been unable to return to work.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of Eaton Court, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hemstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act, Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and Regulation 13 of the Construction Regulations.

> The company has been fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries.

"In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning of the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”