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Building firm fined after brickie breaks his back

14 Jun 12 A building firm has been sentenced after a bricklayer broke his back when he fell through exposed floor joists on a site in Widnes.

Construction site where bricklayer fell
Construction site where bricklayer fell

The 40-year-old man from Southport, who has asked not to be named, was working on a project to refurbish a corner shop and construct four one-bedroom houses when he fell three metres from the first to the ground floor.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the principal contractor for the project, Frank Rogers (Building Contractor) Ltd, following an investigation into the incident at Albert Road in Widnes on 3 May 2011.

Warrington Magistrates’ Court heard that there was no internal staircase in the building, so workers had to climb up a ladder or through a window opening from scaffolding to access the first floor.

The bricklayer tripped as he stepped from the window onto a trestle on the floor, and fell between the exposed joists. He was knocked out, briefly, and broke his back.

Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd of Lark Hill Lane, Liverpool pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to make sure that sufficient measures were in place to prevent workers being injured in a fall. It was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay £7,509 in prosecution costs.

HSE inspector Dr Tom Baldwin said after the hearing: "Luckily the bricklayer has made a good recovery, but a fall of that distance could have resulted in him suffering permanent injuries or even being killed.

"Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd didn’t consider the risks of workers being injured in a fall ahead of the work starting and, as a result, no measures were put in place to prevent falls.

"If the company had taken simple safety measures, such as covering the joists with wooden boards, then lives would not have been put at risk."

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The 40-year-old man from Southport, who has asked not to be named, was working on a project to refurbish a corner shop and construct four one-bedroom houses when he fell three metres from the first to the ground floor.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the principal contractor for the project, Frank Rogers (Building Contractor) Ltd, following an investigation into the incident at Albert Road in Widnes on 3 May 2011.

Warrington Magistrates’ Court heard that there was no internal staircase in the building, so workers had to climb up a ladder or through a window opening from scaffolding to access the first floor.

The bricklayer tripped as he stepped from the window onto a trestle on the floor, and fell between the exposed joists. He was knocked out, briefly, and broke his back.

Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd of Lark Hill Lane, Liverpool pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to make sure that sufficient measures were in place to prevent workers being injured in a fall. It was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay £7,509 in prosecution costs.

HSE inspector Dr Tom Baldwin said after the hearing: "Luckily the bricklayer has made a good recovery, but a fall of that distance could have resulted in him suffering permanent injuries or even being killed.

"Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd didn’t consider the risks of workers being injured in a fall ahead of the work starting and, as a result, no measures were put in place to prevent falls.

"If the company had taken simple safety measures, such as covering the joists with wooden boards, then lives would not have been put at risk."

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MPU

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