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Wed October 28 2020

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£170,000 fine after fall leaves construction worker paralysed

10 May 10 Two companies and a managing director have been fined a total of £170,000 after a 23-year old construction worker from Kettering fell more than nine metres, leaving him paralysed from the chest down.

Two companies and a managing director have been fined a total of £170,000 after a 23-year old worker from Kettering fell more than nine metres, leaving him paralysed from the chest down.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted SDI Group UK of Cambridge, Steel Construction of Coventry, and Richard Berwick, the managing director of RM Berwick Steel Erection Services, of Northamptonshire, after the incident on 8 February 2007 in Glossop, Derbyshire.

SDI Group UK pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Lincoln Crown Court and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.

Steel Construction pleaded guilty to the same offence and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs.

Berwick pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000. He was also disqualified as a director for four years commencing today.

The court heard that Wayne Simpson, now 26, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was working at a construction site off Waterside, Hadfield in Glossop on the day of the incident. He was installing a new racking system when he fell more than nine metres to the concrete floor below.

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The incident has left Mr Simpson paralysed from the chest down and he is likely to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Almost three years on, he relies on family and friends for assistance. He has not been able to return to work.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: "It is unacceptable that a young man should suffer such life-changing injuries while just trying to do his job. Mr Simpson has been left with a long-term debilitating condition because the two companies and Richard Berwick failed to ensure his health and safety.

"Employers must understand the importance of protecting their workforce. Mr Simpson should have been provided with an appropriate safe system of work to protect against falls. This could have included personal fall protection, such as a harness and work restraint lanyard fitted to a running line, and properly fitted safety nets.

"Companies should adequately plan for working at height and ensure fall protection and mitigation measures are in place so incidents like this do not happen."

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