Firm could face personal injury claim after fall

Firm could face personal injury claim after fall 25623

A Walsall-based maintenance firm has been fined after an employee fell through a fragile roof and could face a personal injury claim for compensation.

Stephen Bassford, 58 from Nottingham, was working alone for Sata Contracts Specialist Maintenance on a project to board over broken rooflights on a main building.

This development involved climbing along a fragile perspex roof canopy and as he was collecting his tools to prepare for the end of the day, the structure underneath him collapsed and sent him falling to the concrete floor below.

Mr Bassford wrenched his shoulder, sustained serious facial lacerations and cuts to his left elbow that left him needing extensive physiotherapy and stitches. The Nottingham-man was unable to work for four months.

As is standard procedure, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was informed of the incident and launched an investigation that discovered the 58-year-old was not properly supervised and had not been given a plan for the project he was taken on.

Investigators also found that no harnesses and scaffolding had been put in place for the renovation, despite the latter being specifically paid for by Sata Contracts Specialist Maintenances' client - Shepard Special School.

As a result of its failure to properly train Mr Bassford, as well as other failings, the Walsall-construction firm was fined £11,000 and told to pay £9,732 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the successful prosecution, HSE inspector Frances Bailey said: "Mr Bassford sustained serious injuries and could have died as a result of the fall. He had been working alone at the derelict school, so it was fortunate that he was able to call the emergency services himself after the incident occurred."

Working from height remains one of the most common causes of workplace deaths in the UK and the construction sector has struggled to implement recommended HSE changes to bring the number of injuries under control.

As a result of this, HSE inspectors will make 2,000 unannounced visits to sites across the nation to monitor high risk activities in the coming months.

By Chris Stevenson