Health & Safety News

News added on 26.04.2021

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Working at height

Fall from height but lessons not learned

An HSE inspection revealed poor work at height management and other safety issues at a construction site. What prompted the inspection, and what action was taken?

The HSE carried out a routine inspection of a construction site in Worcestershire, following a report of a fall from height. The inspectors uncovered evidence of poor management of work at height, and several other uncontrolled site safety risks. Eight days earlier, there had been a fall from height from a flat roof. The inspectors found that work was still being carried out on the roof with no edge protection to prevent another such fall, despite the construction firm having time to put this in place.

If there's an accident or near miss at work, it's vital that you take appropriate action, even if nobody was hurt. In some cases, the causes of an accident or near miss will take time to investigate. If the cause, or one of the causes, is immediately apparent, it should be remedied without delay. In any event, the work activity in question should be paused until appropriate safeguards are put in place.

The HSE inspectors served prohibition notices immediately on the construction firm in relation to the work at height breach and for unsafe access and egress into the building. An improvement notice was served in relation to planning for work at height and a notification of contravention was served for other failings identified during the inspection.

SSF Construction Limited pleaded guilty to breaching its obligation under regulation 4(1) Work at Height Regulations 2005 to ensure that work at height was properly planned, supervised and carried out safely. It also pleaded guilty to breaching its duties as principal contractor under regulation 13(1) Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 to ensure that the construction work was safely planned, managed and monitored. It was fined £48,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £3,440.

The HSE inspected this construction site following a fall from a flat roof. Eight days after the fall, work was still being carried out on the same roof with no edge protection in place. Several enforcement notices were served on the company and it was prosecuted for failing to manage the construction site and work at height safely.

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