Sole trader sentenced after worker sustains serious injuries in fall from height

May 2021

A Sole trader has been fined after a sub-contractor fell five metres through a sky light onto a concrete floor.

The Court heard how a sub-contractor working for the sole trader was renewing the guttering between two building. While fitting a roof panel back into place the sub-contractor fell backwards through a sky light, hitting the rail of a lift truck below and landing on the concrete floor. The sub-contractor suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull and broken ribs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the sole trader failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and safe in such a way as to ensure that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The sole trader pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The sole trader received a four-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months and given 180 hours of unpaid community work. The sole trader was ordered to pay costs of £13,500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE Inspector, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. This serious incident could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.

“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”