Ipswich/Harwich: Firm fined after worker suffered fractured spine after fall as he fitted solar panels

Patients fail to turn up for surgery

Patients fail to turn up for surgery - Credit: IAN BURT

Two companies have been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell 10 metres on to a concrete floor.

Constantin-Iulian Pascu, who was aged 25 at the time, was working for NMH Property Services Ltd, of Harwich, which was installing solar panels at Bayford Hall Farm in Hertfordshire with Ipswich-based SEH Commercial Ltd when the accident happened.

Electrician Mr Pascu was carrying out checks on the roof when he fell through a roof light on December 2, 2011.

He suffered a fractured spine, broken pelvis and cuts.

He needed plates and screws fitted to his spine and pelvis and was unable to walk unaided for four months or work for six months.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive and both firms were prosecuted during a hearing at Hertford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that SEH Commercial Ltd had put scaffolding and safety netting under the work area but removed the netting on December 4 when the roofing work was completed.

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SEH Commercial Ltd, of Olympus Close, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,437 costs after pleading guilty to failling to plan, manage and monitor the installation of solar panels on a fragile roof.

NMH Property Services Ltd, of Orchard Close, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,219 costs after admitting breaching Regulation 9(2)(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said: “Mr Pascu has suffered severe injuries but is fortunate to have escaped with his life.

“Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry and this case demonstrates the reality of what can happen when adequate arrangements are not in place to manage the significant risks of working at height.”