Construction worker dies after falling from tower
A construction company has been fined after a worker died as a result of falling from a mobile tower and later died in hospital.
Cambridge Magistrates Court heard how Sean Harding was working from a mobile tower flattening a steel beam that was positioned on a door lintel. He was using a crowbar to lever the beam for a work colleague to insert a metal packer into the space.
Mr Harding caught his jacket sleeve on the tower and in doing so lost balance and fell over the single guard rail and down to ground level. He was taken to hospital but died three months later due to medical complications associated with the fall.
The Health & Safety Executive lead an investigation and found that the mobile tower had not been configured correctly for the task. It should have been set up with a double guard rail in place and more head room available.
Peter Saunders Builders Ltd of Tennyson House, Cambridge Business Park, Cambridge pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £16,000 with £5,139.80 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Hartley said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to select access equipment that is suitable for the task and the work environment and ensure that it is safely used.”
Falls from height were the most common cause of fatal injuries in 2020, according to the HSE. Out of the 39 people who died as a result of construction accidents, around a quarter involved falls from height.
What do we say?
- This is a warning to all companies who have high-risk sites and allow workers to work at height. They need to look at the risks, and potential damage to life.
Consider the following:
- Is there a risk assessment in place that covers working at height?
- Have safe systems of work been completed for tasks?
- Are workers competent to use equipment and is it set up correctly?
- Is equipment being checked by Managers?
- Employers and Owners should consider looking at HSE guidance: www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/height.htm