Rainham firm fined £30,000 for site safety failings

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A LOCAL construction firm has been fined £30,000 for safety failings after an employee broke his spine after falling through a skylight opening in 2011.

The worker made a full recovery following the incident at Fontley Road, Titchfield, Hampshire, on 16 August 2011 but was unable to work for six weeks.

The company, Prestige Construction Services Ltd, based in Rainham, was prosecuted on Monday, 12 August by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation which revealed inadequate measures were in place to prevent the fall.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the worker was helping construct the roof of a new community centre at the time of the incident. There were several holes in the roof where skylights were to be placed but these were left uncovered and without guard rails or safety nets. The worker fell almost four metres to the floor with his spine taking the impact.

Magistrates were told he was fortunate to have made such a swift recovery and sustained no lasting damage from the fall.

The building firm were fined £30,000 and made to pay £9000 costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Following the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Steve Hull said: “You would expect a construction company to be fully aware of the risks posed by working at height and to take the appropriate safety precautions. Yet that clearly didn’t happen here, and the employee could easily have paid with his life as a result.

“The incident was entirely preventable had Prestige Construction Services put effective measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall – as is essential at all times during roofing work.”

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