North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18th July 2018, the three bricklayers fell approximately 2.5 metres onto a concrete floor. They fell through a temporary stairwell cover, which gave way underneath them because it had not been correctly fitted.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that St Modwen did not have a robust system in place to ensure that the temporary stairwell cover was identified as a temporary working platform and treated as such. It failed to coordinate matters relating to the safe use of the temporary platform and it failed to plan, manage and monitor the installation, inspection, maintenance and use of the temporary working platform.
St Modwen Homes Limited of Park Point, High Street, Longbridge, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, contravening Regulation 13(1). It was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,332.
HSE inspector Stephan Axt-Simmonds said after the hearing: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Temporary stairwell covers need to be inspected the same as any other working platforms.”