Worker paralysed in fall from height

A construction company in London has been heavily fined after a worker was left paralysed following a fall from height.

The 38-year-old, of Beckenham, who does not want to be named, damaged his spinal cord in the incident at Grove Park, in Southwark, on 1 July 2011 while carrying out work for Habitat Construction LLP.

He is no longer able to walk or work and has had to overcome major physical and emotional trauma as he adjusts to life in a wheelchair.

No guards on windows

The worker was part of a team transforming two former Victorian hostels into four single town houses.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that windows were removed in an uncontrolled manner during the work. No measures were put in place to prevent a fall through the spaces this created, such as boarding or guard rails, meaning there were open voids for a period of some four to six weeks.

The missing windows included several on a raised first floor area, one of which the worker fell through while attempting to connect a temporary electricity supply. He plunged eight metres onto the concrete floor of a basement below.

Falling from height advice

Accident Advice Helpline can help you with a work injury claim if you’ve been injured in a fall from height.

Employers must ensure that all work at height is properly planned and supervised at all times and develop a plan for emergencies and rescue.

If they fail to do this, you may have a case to seek compensation.

In this case, HSE inspectors concluded that the non-guarding of the windows posed a clear danger and put multiple workers at risk of a fall. Habitat Construction LLP, of Southwark Street, London, was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £16,620 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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