A Shropshire-based construction company has been fined £12,000 after a bricklayer sustained serious injuries in a near-fatal workplace accident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ordered the company, which was overseeing the conversion of agricultural barns into houses in Telford, to also pay costs of £4,139 at Cannock Magistrates’ Court on 21 July 2023.
Scott Ife, a 30-year-old bricklayer from Bridgnorth, suffered a fractured skull and damage to his facial nerve after falling through a stairwell opening on 8 June 2020. At the time of the incident, Mr Ife was 27 years old and working on a two-storey extension to the property.
The court heard that Mr Ife and a colleague set up a working platform using Youngman boards on the first floor. Due to an unprotected stairwell opening, one end of the boards was left unsupported.
Tragically, while pointing up the blocks to form the gable walls, Mr Ife lost his balance, fell onto the unsupported boards, and through the stairwell opening. The accident caused him to plummet four-and-a-half metres onto the concrete floor below, leading to a three-day hospitalisation.
The HSE investigation that followed uncovered numerous safety failings by 2 Counties Construction (Midlands) Ltd. These included a lack of suitable controls to prevent falls into the building and through stairwell openings, inadequate planning, poor selection of equipment for working at height, and insufficient site management arrangements.
“This incident could and should have been easily avoided,” said HSE inspector David Brassington. “Work at height needs to be properly planned and managed to ensure that appropriate precautions are used. We are fortunate that the injuries resulting from these failings were not more serious.”
2 Counties Construction (Midlands) Ltd, based in Broomhall, Worcester, pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.