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Health & Safety Breaches Result in Employee’s Paralysis

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

A construction firm has been fined and ordered to pay costs after breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 resulted in a worker being left paralysed from the waist down.

The employee of Habitat Construction LLP was working as a part of a property refurbishing team when he fell eight metres from an unguarded window space into a basement. He landed on a concrete floor, causing severe damage to his spinal cord.

After a hearing that resulted in the firm being fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £16,620 in costs, HSE inspector Toby Webb commented:

“We found a catalogue of working-at-height risks throughout the site, including the use of simple netting as edge protection to a deep excavation and the removal of windows without installing appropriate protection.

“The unguarded windows posed a clear and extremely serious risk, not only for this unfortunate worker but for others at the site who worked near what were effectively open voids.

“Sub-contractors were also placed in danger because there was nothing to stop equipment or debris from falling from the window spaces.

“The onus was on Habitat Construction to ensure appropriate safety measures were in place, but the company clearly failed its legal responsibilities in this regard.”

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