A construction company has been fined after a painter and decorator fell from an unprotected landing on the second floor of a house.

The Court heard that the employee suffered life changing injuries when he fell from a second floor landing down to the first floor, and then over the unprotected edge and down the stairs to the ground floor in a house.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that edge protection had been in place prior to the incident but had subsequently been removed. The company had failed to replace the edge protection before the employee was directed to carry out the work.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,230.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector said:

“Falls from height remain the most common cause of work-related fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry, and the risks associated with working at height are well-known.

“Working at height, where open edges remain unprotected even for a short duration, or when accessing and egressing work areas can be particularly dangerous. It is important that those in control of the work identify the risks posed and ensure appropriate control measures are in place at all times to safeguard workers, ensuring that the risks are being controlled so far as is reasonably practicable.”

Edge protection solutions for landings

There are edge protection/fall prevention systems specifically for landings, which are quick and easy to assemble/dismantle. This means they can very easily be temporarily removed and then reinstated when access is briefly required for trades such as carpet/floor laying, joiners, painters & decorators and plasterers etc. These systems are re-usable and so definitely worth investing in, and available from numerous suppliers.

Work at Height – The Law

The purpose of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height) the Regulations apply to you.

Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. Low-risk, relatively straightforward tasks will require less effort when it comes to planning.

Employers and those in control must first assess the risks.

Employees have general legal duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions, and to co-operate with their employer to enable their health and safety duties and requirements to be complied with.

HSE have produced guidance to help you comply with the law, see Working at height: A brief guide (PDF)- Portable Document Format for more information.


Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.