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British Telecom has been fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £100,000 after one its employees fell from a loft and broke his back and his ankles.

The court heard how David Spurgeon was fixing a telephone fault in a residential block of flats in London. He was working alone and lost his balance, causing him to fall through the ceiling and land on a concrete stairwell.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Kevin Smith said that Mr Spurgeon was lucky to be alive. “There were a number of failures of health and safety management by BT which related to planning the work, supervision, and checking it was being carried out safely. Work at height needs to be properly planned, and this incident could have been prevented.”

Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries. Common causes are falls from ladders and through fragile roofs. A sensible approach should be taken to working at height; there may be some low-risk situations where common sense tells you no particular precautions are necessary, and the law recognises this. Employers should be familiar with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. As part of these regulations employers must ensure that all work at height is properly planned and organised and that all those involved in working at height are competent to do so. Risks should be assessed and appropriate equipment must be used.

What if you have fallen from height?

If you have been injured as a result of a fall from height during your employment, you could well be entitled to claim for compensation. If it can be proved that your employer was negligent in their duty to protect you during your employment then you are likely to have a strong case. Contact one of our highly trained solicitors and talk through the details of your injury, it won’t cost you anything to identify if you have a claim. We always strive to do our best for our clients and make sure that they get the compensation that they deserve.