A construction and demolition firm has been prosecuted after workers were seen throwing sacks of rubble from an open fifth floor window of a building directly opposite a Police Station. Officers called the Health and Safety Executive after witnessing workers launching rubble sacks from an open window onto a flat roof many metres below without any fall protection from the open edges.
HSE inspectors arrived to find the activity still going on right in front of them, and afterwards prosecuted the company for the dangerous failings in health and safety.
The court was told how the director of the firm had walked through the job with an employee who was not properly trained to take on the responsibilities; no risk assessment was carried out and no site file existed. There was a large amount of rubble being generated by the job and this was placed into rubble bags that initially were carried down the stairs, but subsequently launched from the open window to save time and energy.
The HSE stated that work had begun on a site without ensuring that the proper procedures had been followed and that the director had made incorrect assumptions about the suitability of the employee supervising the job. The HSE inspector on the case stated; “It’s completely unacceptable for anyone to work at open edges with no fall protection. There was the possibility of a fall, the consequences of which could have led to people being seriously injured or killed. Additionally there were real concerns for public safety from falling materials. Work on refurbishment projects needs to be properly planned, and all management procedures put in place before any work activity commences. Work at height is still the biggest cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry and unless controls are in place before work starts, lives will needlessly be put at risk.”
If you work in construction and are concerned about the safety procedures being used by your employer you should raise this issue with them. If they fail to address your concerns you should speak to the HSE. IF you have been injured as a result of breaches in health and safety then you should contact one of our solicitors today. We have years of experience in these kinds of cases and will swiftly be able to talk you through the claims process and see if you are eligible to make a claim for the compensation that you deserve.