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Timber firm fined £80k after employee’s fall

5 Sep 22 A Devon-based timber company has been fined £80,000 after an employee fell through a stairwell while working on a barn conversion.

A 49-year-old driver and warehouse operative, employed by Lamisell Limited, was working on a two-storey barn at the company’s address near Okehampton, on 14th May 2018.

He was trying to access the first floor of the barn from exterior scaffolding and jumped onto a piece of insulation that was covering a stairwell. The insulation gave way and the worker fractured two vertebrae in the fall.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work had not been properly planned, appropriately supervised, or carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred. The company had a duty to control how the work was carried out, including staff supervision.

Lamisell Limited, of Meeth, Okehampton, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regs 2005. It was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,331 at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 31st August 2022. The company was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Peter Buscombe said after the hearing: “This worker’s injuries were serious. This incident could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well-known.”

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