Further fines after fatal fall on office conversion

A further two companies have received fines after a dad had a fatal fall from the roof of a building site in Warrington.

Fines for building companyFather-of-one Dennis Vincent, 36, and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of an office block undergoing conversion into flats.

Mr Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was lowering the access equipment from the roof.

He used a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level. As he did so, both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.

“Failed in their duties”

The fatal fall was on 24 February 2021 at Palmyra House, Palmyra Square in Warrington.

Inco Contracts Limited and Prestige Security Installations Limited both received fines on Thursday after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation.

The companies received a guilty verdict for breaching health and safety regulations following a three-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year.

PTSG Electrical Services Limited was Mr Vincent’s employer.

In February, the firm received a fine of £120,000 after it failed to adequately assess the risks of the working at height.

The HSE investigation found Inco Contracts Limited, the principal contractor, and Prestige Security Installations Limited, the contractor in control of the electrical installation package, failed to ensure proper planning of the lightning protection work.

Therefore, they failed in their duties to manage and monitor the work to ensure workers carried it out safely.

“No instruction or safe means”

The HSE concluded that the companies did not give due consideration to safer methods of working at height. For example, the use of scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP). Plus, workers received no instruction or safe means of getting their equipment down from the roof.

The court found Inco Contracts Limited guilty of breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company received a fine of £600,000. It must also pay out £58,448 in costs at Liverpool Crown Court on 30 November 2023.

Prestige Security Installations Limited received a guilty verdict for breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company received a fine of £30,000 and £15,000 in costs at Liverpool Crown Court on 30 November 2023.

Fatal fall was “most serious of consequences”

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said: “It is vitally important that work at height is properly planned; where it isn’t, the risks can lead to the most serious of consequences.  As such, duties are placed on all those involved in construction work to ensure that the risks are properly assessed and suitable control measures are implemented.

“Principal contractors and contractors should be aware that appointing subcontractors with specific specialisms does not remove the duty that they have to ensure the work has been properly planned and can be undertaken safely.

“Had Inco Contracts Limited and Prestige Security Installations Limited properly reviewed PTSG Electrical Services Limited’s proposals for carrying out the work, they could have ensured suitable controls were in place prior to work starting and this tragic incident could have been avoided.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Dennis Vincent, a husband and father, who did not return home on 24 February 2021 because of the significant failings of these three companies.”

Get guidance on working at height to prevent accidents

Find Work at Height Guidance and CDM Guidance in the Construction Health and Safety Manual.