Thursday, July 20, 2017

Contractor fined after passing HSE inspector notices dangerous work at height

A Chippenham self-employed building contractor was fined at a hearing at Swindon Magistrates' Court on January 27th after admitting breaching health and safety laws.

Ian Pitman, of Kington St Michael's Honeyknobb Hill, was fined £10,000 with costs of £735 after pleading guilty to one breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005

On July 4th 2013, a health and safety inspector was passing by a farm in Wiltshire. They noticed that three people were fitting roof sheets on the barn roof, but were not protected by any fall prevention or mitigation measures.  Therefore, they could have potentially fallen eight metres from the roof and could have sustained serious or fatal injuries.

To prevent these catastrophic accidents at work from occurring, the inspector halted work on-site by issuing a Prohibition Notice. As a result, the roofing work could only begin again when proper health and safety standards had been implemented.

Further investigations into the incident revealed that Ian Pitman had employed the three people to help him build the barn. However, he had not used safety netting or scaffold edge protection and had therefore put these three people at a real risk of serious personal injury.

HSE Inspector Ian Whittles said after the hearing that Mr Pitman had previously been subjected to HSE enforcement action for improper planning of work at height, but despite this, he had still failed to implement sufficient workplace safety measures to mitigate or prevent falls.

Although the risks involved in work at height are well-known within the construction sector, a lack of safeguards and poor health and safety standards are still present among some contractors. These failings could easily lead to catastrophic workplace accidents, which could see businesses or contractors facing accident at work compensation claims and HSE prosecutions.

Mr Whittles noted that in the number of falls from the roofs of agricultural buildings has significantly increased in the last ten years. He expressed his hope that the prosecution will see contractors properly planning all work at height and enacting proper workplace safety precautions.

Employers have a legal duty to plan work in a safe and proper manner, with some of the other health and safety laws that affect employers including the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Businesses should become familiar with these laws if they are to fulfil their legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

If you have a concern about workplace safety standards, you should speak with your employer and ask them to look into the problem. Employers cannot fire you or treat you in an unfair way for raising concerns about health and safety. 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, then you should contact personal injury Bolton solicitors to make an accident at work compensation claim. You cannot be dismissed for claiming workplace accident compensation. There is a three-year statute of limitations for all personal injury claims, so you should start making a claim as soon as possible.

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