Birmingham maintenance firm fined after worker death

A maintenance firm from Birmingham has been fined £100,000 after a worker fatally injured themselves falling from the roof of a five-storey building.

H2O Plumbing Services, which had been contracted to carry out maintenance work on two motor room on Hagley Road, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident on 10 October 2014 in which a worker lost their life due to unsafe working practices.

If your business employs people to work in dangerous or hazardous environments, it is your responsibility to ensure their safety at all times. As well as good health and safety policies, your business should also consider employers’ liability insurance in addition to the required general business insurance.

The HSE discovered during its investigation that two workers had set up a mortar mixing station consisting of two tarpaulin sheets and a plasterers’ bath on top of a roof due to a lack of space. At the end of the day, the workers tried to disassemble the mixing station only for a sheet of tarpaulin blew away in the wind. One of the workers subsequently fell 14 metres, suffering fatal injuries, while attempting to recover the tarpaulin sheet.

H2O Plumbing Services appeared before Birmingham Crown Court and pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The maintenance firm was fined £100,000 and told to pay court costs amounting to £25,000.

Before the hearing, Amy Kalay of the HSE said: “This incident was obviously foreseeable. The employees of H2O working at the site were effectively left to their own devices with equipment and a system that was not wholly suited for the task at hand.

“A suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk, suitable planning, implementation of suitable control measures and adequate and effective site supervision would have prevented this incident from occurring.”