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TV documentary footage convicts firm of worker death

12 Apr 10 Footage filmed for a TV documentary has been used to secure a conviction against a construction company after the death of one of its workers.

Footage filmed for a TV documentary has been used to secure a conviction against a construction company after the death of one of its workers.

Hackney-based Regentford was fined £250,000 on Friday after being convicted of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974, following an eight day trial at Croydon Crown Court. They were also ordered to pay costs of £71,603.01.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the death of employee Balwinder Kumar on 24 February 2005.

Mason and plasterer Kumar, from Forest Gate, was re-pointing brickwork when he fell from scaffolding at the rear of a building in High Street, South Norwood, Croydon. He suffered severe head injuries in the first storey fall, was taken to King's College Hospital and died on 1 March 2005.

When the HSE went to investigate, the scaffolding Mr Kumar had been standing on had been removed. During the investigation it emerged that a BBC television crew filming the documentary 'Trauma', had been accompanying the medical staff who attended the site, and HSE obtained footage showing scaffolding in very poor condition with insufficient guard rails and an inadequate working platform [see film still, above left].

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The HSE investigation showed that health and safety on the site had not been managed appropriately by Regentford. There was no one in effective control of health and safety on the site.

HSE Inspector Nigel Evans said: "The footage from the documentary crew showed that the scaffolding was totally inadequate for the job in hand. We will use all evidence at our disposal to prosecute employers who fail to manage health and safety risks properly. Mr Kumar needlessly lost his life on a small construction site, and it is these smaller sites where a significant proportion of fatalities in the industry occur each year.

"The message is simple: whatever the size of company or site, you have exactly the same responsibility to make sure employees have a safe and healthy working environment - and we can and will prosecute if these duties are neglected."
 

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