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The HSE recently took action against a company for a Working at Height breach. Here are the details from the February 27, 2024 case.

Company and director fined after worker seriously injured

A company and its director have been fined after an employee was injured from a fall during the construction of eight new houses in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

The man, employed by Alba Construction (Midlands) Limited, had been working in one of the new properties on the former site of The Greyhound Inn on Upper St John Street when he fell through an open stairwell on 27 February 2022.

Working at Height

He fell onto the concrete floor below where he was found unconscious.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Alba Construction (Midlands) Limited had identified the risk of internal falls in their risk assessment process but failed to provide suitable measures to prevent them in this and other areas of the site. After the incident, three Prohibition Notices were served prohibiting further work at height activities on site until such steps had been taken.

The HSE investigation also found that company director, Bujar Cekrezi, failed to ensure that the necessary health and safety measures were implemented to protect employees and others, despite previous HSE interventions regarding work at height.

Had the company put in place commonplace measures, such as birdcage scaffolding, or fixed edge protection around the stairwell openings, the incident could have been prevented. HSE guidance can be found at: Construction – Working at height industry health & safety (hse.gov.uk)

Alba Construction (Midlands) Limited, of Stoney Lane, Yardley, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £1,857.96 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 February 2024.

Bujar Cekrezi, of Croydon Road, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,857.96 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 February 2024.

HSE inspector Sinead Martin said: “This incident could have been prevented had the company properly planned the work at height and identified and implemented suitable control measures, such as a birdcage scaffolding or fixed edge protection to prevent falls through the open stairwells.

“Falls from height are the number one cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry and the employee was very lucky to have survived this incident.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Nathan Cook and supported by HSE paralegal officer Sarah Thomas.

(HSE – Latest press releases)

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