fell from height

Construction company prosecuted after workers fell from height

A construction company received a sentence after two bricklayers fell from height during the construction of a parapet wall.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 31 October 2019, two employees suffered serious injuries at a property in Over Alderley, Cheshire.

The incident happened when the makeshift platform they were working on collapsed.

The two men, along with plywood boards and bricks, fell approximately eight feet to the concrete floor below.

The first man sustained fractured ribs, severe bruising and a large wound to his leg. Meanwhile, the second man sustained severe bruising to his knees.

Investigation into how workers fell from height

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found H Cumberbirch & Sons Limited did not properly plan the work at height.

The risk assessment and method statement failed to consider how to construct the parapet wall and how to prevent the risk of falling from height.

Without suitable measures for preventing the employees from falling from height, the company left the workers to work out how best to carry out the work with the equipment they had available.

Therefore, the investigation concluded the company didn’t adequately supervise the work at height to ensure it happened safely.

H Cumberbirch & Son Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The company received a fine of £36,000 and will pay costs of £2,824.

Prevention of incidents

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sinead Martin said: “This incident could have been prevented had the company properly planned the work at height and identified and implemented suitable control measures, such as platforms for preventing falls through the joists and scaffolding at the roof edges.

“Falls from height are the number one cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry.”

For guidance on safe Working at Height, take a look at the Construction Health and Safety Manual.