• Robert Spicer

Worker paralysed in roof fall: two companies fined £540,000

Worker paralysed in roof fall: two companies fined £540,000

Health and Safety Executive v Grangewood Builders Ltd and Trenchco Ltd (2018) Westminster magistrates’ court, July 11

Statutory reference: regulations 13 and 15 of the Construction (Design and Mangement) Regulations 2015 (CDM).

The facts

  • In November Marcel Paduraru, a Romanian construction worker was working on the refurbishment of a house near Buckingham Palace. He fell through a fragile plastic skylight into a basement three metres below. He suffered a fractured spine and permanent loss of the use of his legs.

  • Grangewood Builders Ltd was principal contractor for the project. It contracted Trenchco Ltd to carry out specialised demolition work.

  • Despite work being carries out close to the skylight, neither company had checked it for fragility nor taken action to prevent workers falling through it.

  • Neither company had ensured that the work was adequately planned. Safe systems of work were not identified and implemented.

  • Workers had been put at risk from construction activities at the site. The activities involved the demolition of a roof without edge protection, to manually handling wood beams weighing 200 kg.

  • The Trenchco supervisor controlling the work had no formal training related to supervision. Some workers, including the victim, had to rely on unofficial interpreters to pass on instructions and to tell them the contents of health and safety records.

The decision

  • Grangewood Builders Ltd was fined £270,000 plus £7000 costs under regulation 13 of CDM.

  • Trenchco Ltd was fined the same amount under regulation 15 of CDM.

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