A major North West-based construction firm have been fined £160,000 following the death of a labourer who was working on a Premier League football club’s new training facility.
The employee was working at height on the first floor of a building at the Halewood site when a guardrail broke, causing him to fall out of an open window frame. He spent three months in a coma before passing away on 29 May 2007 – a few days after his 43rd birthday.
Investigations showed that the guardrail in place was temporary, and had a rubbish chute attached to it leading to a skip located below. It was found that the management team had failed to check whether or not the guardrail systems could take the weight of the chute and the materials being disposed through it.
“If the company had ensured the rubbish chute was attached to a structure which could support its weight then the employee would still be alive today,” commented HSE inspector Robert Hodkinson.
This case is a reminder to companies that they need to constantly check the state of their edge protection to ensure worker safety. It’s a shame that something that was implemented to try and protect workers led to somebody’s death, especially when it would have taken a routine procedure to test the stability of the guardrail in question.
Fall arrest measures should always be taken, even for the most simple of tasks. Accidents can occur anywhere on a construction site – as this company found out, it’s up to companies to be vigilant at all times when it comes to being responsible for employee safety.