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March 6, 2020

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in court

Young worker seriously injured in fall

A construction firm has been fined after a 17-year-old worker fell more than three metres through an opening for a roof light.

On 20 August 2018, an employee of Mark Holland Group Ltd fell through a sheet of insulation covering a skylight when walking across an unmarked and unguarded area on the first floor of a construction site in Southgate Street, Gloucester. He suffered multiple broken bones in his right leg and foot and, after two operations, was advised it was unlikely he could work in construction again.

Investigating, the HSE found that the inexperienced young employee was not supervised properly and was unaware of the risks on site. There were no physical warnings that there was a hole or a fragile surface, and no verbal warning had been circulated to workers on site. There were also no physical barriers to stop anyone walking from the scaffold onto the flat roof.

The company also failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned and appropriately supervised. Despite this incident, the company continued to fail to ensure work at height was planned and managed on site. Numerous failings were identified by HSE during later visits to the construction site.

Mark Holland Group Limited of Victoria House, Churchill Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £55,620.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Laura Banks said: “This worker’s injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”


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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.

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