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A window fitting company and the principal contractor at a construction site have both been fined for safety failings by the HSE after a worker was seriously injured after falling three metres while installing windows.

Darren Sheppard, a 54 year-old employee of GFT Frames ltd, was installing windows at a construction site in Bournemouth. He and a colleague had been unloading window frames and were accessing the first floor through a void in which there were no stairs, just a ledge on which to climb. As Mr Sheppard climbed onto the first floor from the ledge, he slipped and fell nearly 1.7 metres onto the ledge, and then fell a further 1.3 meters to the ground below. He sustained two fractured ribs and a broken thumb in the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into the event found that the window company had not properly planned or supervised the work at height, and that the principal contractor had failed to manage, plan or monitor the construction phase and in addition had failed to provide workers with a site induction.

GFT Frames Limited, of Vantage Way, Poole, Dorset, was fined a total of £6,000, and ordered to pay £9,953 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Parsons and Joyce Contractors Limited, of Ashley Road, Poole, Dorset, was fined a total of £20,000, and ordered to pay £9,953 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Regulation 22(1)(a) and 22(2)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. You are working at height if you:

  • work above ground/floor level
  • could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or
  • could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground

Work at height does not include a slip or a trip on the level, as a fall from height has to involve a fall from one level to a lower level, nor does it include walking up and down a permanent staircase in a building.

If you or someone you know has been injured through an accident at work, you might be eligible to claim for compensation. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today to find out how we can help you.