Plymouth Building Firm Fined Following Worker's Fall From Height

A Plymouth construction firm has been fined after a worker fell from height in an accident at work.

W Cooper and Son (Plymouth) admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in the hearing at Plymouth Magistrates Court on September 27th, and was fined £10,000 with costs of £5,000. It could also be liable in workplace accident compensation claims as a result of the incident.

The court heard that Geoffrey Burt, 59, was pulling up the floor at the firm’s Commercial Road, Coxside, when he fell through a void, falling 2.3 metres. He suffered serious injuries in the accident at work, including fractures to his spine, shoulder blade and ribs.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that while the copy had revealed the void in the disused industrial premises’ floor while examining rot and had taken steps to prevent workers from approaching the void, it had not adequately protected staff from falls. There was no written risk assessment for the task Mr Burt was doing and his supervisor had not advised the victim to work in a safer way.

HSE Inspector Annette Walker said Mr Burt sustained a great deal of pain and distress in the accident at work. She called the incident “entirely foreseeable” and said it underlines the need for employers to take their health and safety obligations seriously.

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