£80,000 fines for companies and community service for director after worker falls from scaffold tower

A few days before the Health & Safety Executive published fatality figures of 2018/19 showing that falls from height still kill more people at work than any other single cause, a company and its directors were convicted by Reading Magistrates as the result of a worker suffering life-changing injuries in a fall from a scaffold tower during the refurbishment of a pub in the town.

Reading Magistrates heard how, on 2 December 2016, Samuel Goemans of Cedar Ridge Construction Ltd suffered a serious head injury after falling from a tower scaffold on to the street below (London Road). His injuries have led to long term brain and memory problems and have resulted in him suffering from seizures and losing the ability to care for himself.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the principal contractor failed to control the safety and planning on site and the sub-contractor carried out unsafe working practices.

The principal contractor, Turnkey Contractors Ltd of Ethelburt Avenue, Bassett Green, Southampton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of The Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,184.

Turnkey Contractors' Director Santokh Dhanda of Ethelburt Avenue, Bassett Green, Southampton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has received a Community Service Order for 100 hours' work.

The subcontractor, Cedar Ridge Construction Ltd of Waterloo Road, Wokingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,184.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Whittles said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to design and erect scaffolding in a safe manner that does not raise risk to members of the public and workers using the scaffold.”

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