Health and Safety Executive Imposes Fine for 25-Foot Fall From Roof

| General


In early January 2023, the Health and Safety Executive handed down financial sanctions in the amount of two hundred thousand pounds to a business specializing in property management relating to an incident involving workforce members who had fallen through the roof of a building under its control. 

What Happened In The Case?

  • During the incident a surveyor was conducting survey activity on a Community Centre roof 
  • Matters worsened when the surveyor suffered a substantial fall from the top of the building and received some horrible bodily injuries in the form of cracking to his skull, ribs, and back. He also sustained bleeding from his brain.
  • The extent of the injuries was so severe in fact that the surveyor became confined to a wheelchair as a direct consequence.   
  • The Health and Safety Executive handed down a substantial financial sanction in the amount of two hundred thousand pounds to a property management business 
  • The magnitude of the fine was so high because of the seriousness of the events which had taken place and
  • the Health and Safety Executive presumably wanted to send out the message to the sector that what had taken place was not acceptable and sought to make an example of such conduct.  

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

When the Health and Safety Executive carried out its investigation, it reviewed the evidence and found that the provider of property services involved in the case had neglected its duty to utilize a safe structure for carrying out its operations above the ground level and in particular on the upper outside level of the property in question. This was not the end of the matter and when the regulator delved a little deeper under the surface, they discovered that the property organization had neglected its duty and failed to take steps to:

  • plan
  • organise or
  • provide oversight for the activity in the working environment concerned. 

The Regulator further commented on the compelling evidence which appeared to strongly suggest that the property business had done very little to spot any issues in terms of risks and failed to put any measures in position to mitigate the risks of such issues developing into a serious Health and Safety problem. To emphasize how seriously it was taking the matter the Health and Safety Executive commented that such injuries from height are not unusual, but such risks can be mitigated against.     

Feet to the Fire?

When the Health and Safety Executive put the allegations to the property business it seemingly had no feasible option but to enter admissions to charges of violating section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Those employing members of staff are under a duty to make sure that they are safeguarding the health, safety, and well-being of their workforce. It also obliges affected employers to have systems in place and do what they reasonably can do to upkeep those systems and in compliance with their legal, regulator and professional obligations.  

Lessons Learned? 

All businesses employing staff and responsible for the management of affected buildings need to be taking steps to reduce the chance of deaths and substantial injuries from taking place and the need for involvement by the Health and Safety Executive by implementing the following measures to mitigate the risks of future falls from height from taking place, including but not limited to:

  • introducing, carrying out, and maintaining assessments 
  • ensuring the correct checks about such risks are present and
  • making sure that such measures are being used and their effectiveness. 

ASSESSING FIRMS

#BlakeMorgan #LClyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP &RadcliffesLeBrasseur #BatesWells #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #FieldFisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #Russell-CookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #CharlesRussellSpeechlysLLP #KeoughLLP #MurdochsSolicitors #StepehensonsSolicItorsLLP

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Construction Index – Surveyor in a wheelchair after council inspection job – 3rd January 2023 - Surveyor in a wheelchair after council inspection job (theconstructionindex.co.uk)

[SOURCE 2] Health and Safety Executive – Fragile Roofs - Fragile roofs: Safe working practices GEIS5 (hse.gov.uk)

[SOURCE 3] Section 2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (legislation.gov.uk)

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