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Tue June 22 2021

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Contractor fails teenage employee

28 Feb 20 A 17-year-old lad’s career in construction was over almost as soon as it had begun because his employer failed to look out for his safety.

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 20th August 2018, an employee of Mark Holland Group Ltd fell more than three metres through an opening for a roof light.

He fell through a sheet of insulation covering a skylight when walking across an unmarked and unguarded area on the first floor of a construction site in Southgate Street, Gloucester.

He suffered multiple broken bones in his right leg and foot and, after two operations, was told that he is unlikely to be able to work on construction sites again.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the inexperienced young employee was not supervised properly and was unaware of the risks on site. There were no physical warnings that there was a hole or a fragile surface, and no verbal warning had been circulated to workers on site. There were also no physical barriers to stop anyone walking from the scaffold onto the flat roof.

The company failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned and appropriately supervised.

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Even after this incident, the company continued to fail to ensure work at height was planned and managed on the site as numerous failings were identified by HSE during later visits.

Mark Holland Group Limited of Leckhampton, Cheltenham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £55,620.

HSE inspector Laura Banks said after the hearing,: “This worker’s injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of injuries in the country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

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