Sector - Finance & Legislation

Construction firms warned of responsibilities by HSE

The HSE has reminded construction companies of their responsibilities after a worker was seriously injured on site.

A metal fabrication company was successfully prosecuted by the HSE following an incident on site where an agency worker was injured.

North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 15 March 2017, a welder recruited from an agency by W D Close and Sons Limited was instructed to carry out welding on top of a structure which required working at height. A five metre high tower scaffold was erected, but this was not suitable and unsecured boards were added to the working platform to give the required access for the work to be completed. Whilst moving from one part of the structure to another, the worker stepped on to one of the unsecure boards, which spun round and caused him to fall approximately five metres onto the concrete floor.

Serious injuries were sustained in the fall including a broken collarbone, several fractured ribs and a head injury. The worker spent ten days recovering in hospital before returning to his home in Poland.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive found the company had failed to properly plan work at height and had failed to provide a safe working platform for the welders carrying out the required work. A suitable and sufficient risk assessment would have identified which equipment should have been used and how the work should have been carried out.

W D Close and Sons Limited of Valentia Avenue, Walkergate, Newcastle upon Tyne pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £200,000 with £1,398 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, inspector Bill Gilroy said: “This case highlights the importance of properly planning work at height and ensuring it is carried out from a safe working platform and the proper equipment is used.”

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