After a worker died recently at a Swansea building site, a large construction company has been found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations for working at heights. The concrete structures firm which was also involved in the incident have been sentenced as well.
The firms involved, Febrey Ltd. and Carillion Construction Ltd. were both prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after the incident. The fatal fall occurred at the development site of the Meridian Quay Apartments in January of 2008.
The worker was Russell Samuel, a 40 year old independent contractor and father of two from Porth. He had been contracted by the company to work as a scaffolder at the building site in Swansea, Wales.
He had been dismantling a scaffold platform access ladder to prepare for the installation of the roof, when he fell 19 metres to the ground below. He narrowly missed another worker; carpenter Raymond Haines, who had been working on the ground.
Mr. Samuel was taken immediately to Morriston Hospital, but he had already suffered a fractured skull along with several other serious injuries during the fall. He passed away just two days later in hospital.
The investigation into the incident found that the construction firm was inadequate in its provision of health and safety arrangements and that there was no instruction or communication for the workers. The management team which had been working on site was not trained in health and safety, although they had been previously warned to obtain these qualifications by health and safety consultants.
Carillion Construction was found guilty of breached several sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined a total of £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,500 in costs. Febrey Ltd. was also found guilty and the company has since gone into liquidation. It has been fined a total of £85, although the judge stated that before they became insolvent he would have fined them £250,000.
Falls from height are one of the biggest killers in the construction industry and without proper adherence to Work at Height safety regulations, serious and even fatal accidents can occur which affect worker’s families forever.