October 22, 2019

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In court

Generic risk assessments not suitable for task

A Hitchin-based construction company has been sentenced after a carpenter sustained nerve and tissue damage to his lower back after a fall from height.

On 2 May 2017, the employee was working for and under the control of MP Building Limited. He climbed up to remove a nail from a brace holding trusses, one of which started to fall causing the employee to fall with it. According to the HSE, raised safety decking that was used as fall mitigation within the building did not cover the whole area and left significant gaps.

The 36-year-old carpenter sustained nerve and tissue damage to his lower back, whiplash to his neck and his little finger was ripped open.

The HSE found that the risk assessments of MP Building Limited were generic. They identified falls from height, but control measures focused on scaffolding and did not mention internal falls and decking. It was also found that operatives on the site were not trained to install the safety decking.

MP Building Limited of Bilton Road, Hitchin pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 13(1) of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £65,000 and ordered to pay £6,298.82 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jenny Morris said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by planning work at height to ensure that suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent falls.”


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Barbour download: Guide to working at height

Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.

The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.

Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.

Barbour EHS

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