The following news story, published on the HSE website, is a stark reminder of the great dangers of working at height and the vital importance of taking the proper approach to safety when using access equipment.
A construction company has been fined after an employee died as a result of falling from a mobile tower.
Cambridge Magistrates Court heard how, on 15 September 2017, Sean Harding was working from a mobile tower levelling a steel beam that was seated on a door lintel. This involved using a crowbar to lever the beam up for a work colleague to insert a metal packer into the gap. Mr Harding caught his jacket sleeve on the tower, lost balance and fell over a single guard rail and down to ground level. He was taken to hospital but died three months later due to medical complications.
An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the mobile tower wasn’t configured correctly for the task due to the limited headroom and that double guard rails could have been used, if configured correctly.
Peter Saunders Builders Ltd of Tennyson House, Cambridge Business Park, Cambridge pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £16,000 with £5,139.80 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Hartley said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to select access equipment that is suitable for the task and the work environment and ensure that it is safely used.”