Two firms fined after personal injury sustained at work by employee

Two companies have been heavily fined after one of its employees sustained serious personal injury because of the company’s breach of health and safety law.

M-Tech Engineering Limited had been retained by Thomas Long & Sons Limited to carry out extensive refurbishment on a building in Nottingham. The unnamed 38 year old was working on the building in Covent Street when the accident occurred on 15 April 2009. He was installing a steel staircase at the time and to do so had to use a mobile tower scaffold. Whilst using the tower scaffold the worker slipped and fell. He fractured two vertebrae in his spine.

The Health and Safety Executive subsequently carried out an investigation on the incident. The investigation determined that the scaffold tower had not been erected pursuant to industry safety guidelines. This had led to the tower being unstable and the employee falling from the tower and sustaining personal injury. The system of work had been devised by M-Tech Engineering Ltd and the company was therefore liable for the accident at work.

M-Tech Engineering Limited was prosecuted for breach of s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. S.2(1) states that “”It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.” M-Tech Engineering Limited had failed to ensure the health and safety of its employees by failing to ensure that the construction of the scaffold tower followed industry guidelines. They were therefore held liable for breach of statutory duty. They were fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.

Thomas Long & Sons was prosecuted for breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. R22(1) states that “the principal contractor for a project shall plan, manage and monitor the construction phase in a way which ensures that, so far as is reasonably practicable, it is carried out without risks to health or safety” .They were found liable for breach of the statutory duty. They had failed to carry out safe procedures of monitoring or managing the construction in a way that would reasonably ensure that the work was carried without risk to the health and safety of the workers. Thomas Long was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

Marc Hadrill, a personal injury specialist at Redmans, stated that: “This case demonstrates that construction companies must ensure that work carried out is in compliance with industry standards as far as reasonably practicable. Failure to do so can lead to serious personal injury to those working on the projects.”