Building firms fined £166,700 after worker fell through hole in floor

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court - Credit: Lucy taylor

Two companies have been fined after a worker fell through a hole in the floor of a property being refurbished in Aldeburgh and suffered life-changing injuries. 

The man had been working on the second floor when he fell about three metres through a hole cut out for plasterboard to be passed up from the level below.

He suffered fractures to his vertebrae and ribs, and severe bruising as a result of the fall on July 27, 2017.

On February 4, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard he had been working as a dry liner for R&B Plastering Limited, contracted on the Park Lane site to the principal contractor, Robert Norman Construction Limited.

He was in hospital for 19 days, had to wear a back brace for six months, and suffers ongoing physical and psychological issues, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE said its investigation found the hole was not adequately protected via covering or access, and that although R&B Plastering had put a risk assessment in place for the work, it was inadequate and was not provided to the principal contractor prior to work commencing.

The principal contractor's own policy outlined the need to review any sub-contractors’ risk assessments before starting work, said the HSE, which found that by failing to follow its policy, the principal contractor missed any opportunity to review R&B Plastering’s risk assessment.

Robert Norman Construction Limited, of Framlingham, was was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,426 after being found guilty in its absence of breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to discharge a general health, safety and welfare duty to an employee, and failing to discharge general health and safety duty to a person other than employee.

R&B Plastering Limited, of Bury St Edmunds, was fined £26,700 and ordered to pay costs of £8,426 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to discharge a general health and safety duty to a person other than employee.

HSE inspector Prentiss Clarke-Jones said: “The employee’s injuries are life-changing and he could have easily been killed.

"The incident could have been avoided if both companies had fully implemented safe systems of work and identified, during the planning stages, that materials would need to be safely transported between floors."

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