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Fri February 26 2021

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Prison sentence for height safety breach

1 Mar 18 A building firm director has received a suspended jail sentence for flouting height safety regulations.

Kent-based Prior Homes Ltd and director Paul Prior were charged with failing to control the risks associated with working on a fragile roof after a worker sustained serious injuries.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how two men were removing panels on a fragile roof when one of them fell through to the floor approximately five metres below.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Prior Homes had failed to plan the work on the roof or to carry out this work safely. In addition, the investigation also found that, as the director, Paul Prior was personally in charge of this work and had consented to the unsafe working practices.

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Prior Homes Ltd of Station Road, Gillingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £9,334 and ordered to pay costs of £6,398.20. Paul Prior pleaded guilty to breaching section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to a custodial sentence of eight weeks suspended for 12 months and ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work.

HSE principal inspector Keith Levart said after the case: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work fatalities and serious injuries in this country. The risks associated with working at height are well-known. Prior Homes Limited and Paul Prior had established an unsafe and poorly planned working practice which lead to a serious injury to one of the workers, and have today been held to account for failing to take adequate action to protect the health and safety of persons working on their site.”

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