Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd fined £260,000 following worker's fall

Construction company Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has been sentenced for health & safety breaches after worker Mark Smith fell 4.8m through an unprotected opening in a water tower at one of the McAlpine directors' homes.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard on 18 December how, on 28 April 2016, 36-year-old Mark Smith was working at Stone Gappe Hall, Lothersdale, Keighley, owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of the McAlpine group of companies.

Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank while preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property so the floor could be painted.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mark Smith fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. As a result, he sustained serious injuries to his legs, face, head and ribs. He was hospitalised for nine days and, the court heard, ontinues to suffer from psychological damage that has meant he has been unable to return to work.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of Eaton Court, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hemstead, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company has been fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Paul Thompson said “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by proper planning of the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”