Construction company fined for breaching work at height regulations
A construction company has been fined after HSE inspectors found unsafe working at height practises and unsafe crane operations during a routine inspection.
A routine inspection in Malvern, Worcestershire, observed a crane in an unsafe position on the roadside, Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court was told. The mobile crane was being operated in an unsuitable position, on a slope. There was not any plan for the lifting operation or a competent lift supervisor, putting workers and members of the public at risk. The incident happened on 15 October 2019.
Workers had also installed a temporary platform on scaffolding without any additional edge protection, as required by the regulations, to prevent a fall from height.
A Prohibition Notice (PN) was served immediately in response to the work at height breach and a Notification of Contravention and Improvement Notices (IN) were served in relation to planning for work at height and planning for lifting operations.
J F Wright Ltd of Brecon Close, Droitwich, Worcestershire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined £64,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,926.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Gregory said: “Although no incidents took place during the inspection, there was the potential for serious injuries or fatalities in two different areas of work.
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure that workers are adequately trained, properly supervised, and work activities are appropriately planned, managed and monitored.
“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
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.