£300,000 fine after employee cutting an opening for a stairwell falls to his death

Flashback to the falls prevention campaign from the Health & Safety Executive in 2010.

London company Formation Construction Ltd has been given a £300,000 fine by Westminster Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £17,528 costs after an employee cutting a hole to make an opening for a stairwell fell 7.5m to his death.

The company pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when it appeared before the Court on 18 January.

Westminster Magistrates heard how, on 4 November 2015, an employee was using a concrete breaker at Tech West House, Warple Way in Acton, to make an opening for a stairwell when he fell, sustaining fatal head injuries.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) ascertained that the work had not been properly planned, was not adequately supervised and was not carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Smith said: "This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement suitable and sufficient measures to prevent falls.

“The risks associated with work at height are well known throughout the construction industry. While, on paper, Formation Construction Ltd had identified control measures which could have prevented this incident from occurring, in practise these safeguards were virtually absent.

“Ultimately, the company failed to control the risk on site and as a result one of its workers fell to his death.”