Construction firm fined over accident at work

A Welsh construction company has been fined £143,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling more than £15,000 after a worker was seriously hurt falling down a pit.

Stephen Harrison, who was working as a contractor for Cardiff-based Jehu Project Services Ltd, suffered a broken back, ribs and a punctured lung in the accident which happened at a construction site in the city in July last year.

Companies need to ensure that they take care to put the proper safety precautions in place, especially in particularly dangerous work, such as construction. But even with these precautions in place, it's essential to check that you have proper levels of employers’ liability insurance in place. Your business could face ruin if workers are involved in an accident at work and you are prosecuted for failings so it's really worth staying on top of insurance cover.

In the case of Jehu Project Services, the company admitted breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, Regulation 13(1) and Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3), when it was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Newport Crown Court heard that an HSE investigation into the incident discovered that protective barriers around the drop and bean bags placed at the bottom had been removed because they were in the way of some of the contractors working on the job. Inspectors found a catalogue of issues including a lack of effective site management and supervision and a construction plan that did not take working at height risks properly into account.

After the case, HSE Inspector Liam Osborne said: “Jehu had been given many warnings in the past by HSE about the lack of effective planning, managing and monitoring on their construction sites, as well as warnings about unsafe working at height. The court heard some really positive steps the company are now taking to put these matters right, including making substantial management changes.”