CONSTRUCTION company, Rivergate Developments Ltd, has been sentenced for safety breaches after an employee fell 2.7 metres through an open stairwell.
On 31 May 2017, Nathan Howes, was working on the upper floor of a cricket club in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire which was under refurbishment. Nathan was removing a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck, so that steel beams could be lifted into place, when he stepped backwards and fell through the stairwell opening.
As a result of his fall, Nathan sustained multiple injuries including a fractured spine, fractured skull and a small collapse of one of his lungs, and was hospitalised for six days. Nathan still attends physiotherapy and has not yet been able to return to work.
Failure to prevent a fall
An investigation found that Rivergate Developments Ltd had carried out a risk assessment which identified there would be gaps in the floor through which a person could fall. However, they failed to put any measures in place to either prevent or mitigate the consequences of a fall.
Rivergate Developments Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000, with costs of £1,020.
HSE inspector Jayne Towey commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.
“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”