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Wed April 01 2020

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McAlpine fined £260k after worker falls at boss's home

6 Jan Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has been fined £260,000 after a man was injured in a fall while working on the private residence of one of the directors.

Image of Stone Gappe Hall reproduced from Wikipedia (Nthep) under creative commons license
Image of Stone Gappe Hall reproduced from Wikipedia (Nthep) under creative commons license

Mark Smith, aged 36, fell 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening while working at Stone Gappe Hall in Lothersdale, near Keighley. The house is owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of the McAlpine group of companies.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 28th April 2016, Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank while preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Smith fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. He was hospitalised for nine days with several broken bones. He continues to suffer from psychological damage and has been unable to return to work, the court heard.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of Eaton Court, Hemel Hemstead, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

HSE inspector Paul Thompson said after the hearing: “This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”

Stone Gappe Hall is considered to be the model for Gateshead Hall, the childhood home of Jane Eyre, as author Charlotte Brontë briefly worked as a governess there.

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