A construction firm has been fined after a worker fell five metres from a roof.
A judge at Southwark Crown Court fined Montway Ltd £144,000 for failing to provide scaffolding after worker Ioan Vancea fell from a roof while carrying out demolition work on behalf of the firm.
Two workers, including Mr Vancea, were working on a two-storey detached house in the Golders Green area of north London.
Mr Vancea, a labourer from Romania, fell and fractured his spine while undertaking work to the structure, which at the time of the incident had been partly demolished.
Doctors placed the worker in an induced coma for two weeks and he remained in hospital for three months.
The court heard how the firm had failed to provide scaffolding for the roofing work, which was also unsupervised.
A follow-up visit to the site by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators uncovered that unsupervised demolition was still taking place two weeks after the incident.
Asbestos had also been broken down and discarded in the gardens of neighbouring properties after being removed from the site.
As a matter of public protection, the HSE investigators issued Enforcement Notices immediately.
Montway Limited of Batchworth House, Batchworth Place, Church Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1JE pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay £43,606.15 in costs.
Worker “could have been killed”
After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said: “Mr Vancea’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed.
“This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway Ltd’s site documents even identified it was needed.”
He added that the judge’s ruling confirmed she was satisfied that their approach towards the welfare of their employees was lax and casual, and it was their overall poor management of health and safety that led to the incident.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 22, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown