A housing company has been ordered to pay more than £110,000 in fines and costs after it admitted a safety breach over the death of a worker in a boiler house.
Southwark Crown Court heard that the body of 68-year-old heating engineer Alan Young, from South Mead, Barnet, was discovered in the communal boiler house on the Grahame Park estate in Barnet on 9 August 2011.
Fatal fall from height
Judge Michael Grieve heard Mr Young had worked for Barnet Homes Ltd, Barnet House, High Road, Barnet for 21 years. He was a lone worker responsible for the boiler house and on 8 August he had checked in with his supervisor as normal. He went in to the boiler house to repair a leak but the supervisor realised the next day that Mr Young had not checked out after his shift.
The supervisor tried to contact him but to no avail and after trying his home they went to the boiler room and found his body at the bottom of a scaffold, the court was told.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found the scaffold had not been put up properly, there were no brakes on the wheels and some guardrails were missing. The ladder was not fixed to the scaffold and the supervisor did not know that fixed scaffolding was being used.
The HSE said Barnet Homes Ltd had not properly risk assessed lone working and the company admitted it had not adequately controlled the work.
After admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Barnet Homes Ltd, which carries out work for Barnet Council, was fined £37,000 and told to pay a further £75,000 in costs.
Such a large fine was needed because of the seriousness of the offence and the fact it caused Mr Young’s tragic death, according to Judge Grieve.
All public bodies, regardless of their budget pressures, should have the same standards of health and safety as companies in the private sector, he said.
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