Bulgarian company fined for breach of working at height rules
A construction company has been fined following a breach of health and safety regulations, while working on an adventure playground in Derby.
Walltopia had been working on an adventure course called ‘Closer to the Edge’ when a member of the public spotted two construction workers working from the forks of a telehandler with a pallet balanced on them, whilst working at height. Although the citizen reported their concerns to the construction firm, no safety procedures were put in place, despite the company reassuring the individual that they would do so.
As no action was taken by the company, the individual then reported the incident, which took place in 2015, to the Health and Safety Executive, which discovered that employees of the firm were working 11 metres off the ground without anything in place to prevent them falling from the open edges of the structure. Access to the roof was gained by a cherry picker, so that the workers could climb from its basket onto the roof.
The Bulgarian company received a fine of £500,000 plus costs of £8,013.25, following a guilty plea to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Lee Greatorex, a health and safety inspector, said that working at height required management and planning to prevent workers from falls, which could result in death or injury.
Employers have a duty of care to all employees, and have to provide safety equipment, which may include specialist workwear or PPE in addition to suitable risk management.