Lack of safety inspections blamed for accident

Contractors are being warned to ensure they carry out regular safety inspections after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted a Horsforth firm over a worker's fall.

Allerton Dale & Co of Horsforth, Leeds was fined a total of £3000 by Bradford Magistrates after pleading guilty to offences under Regulation 26 (2) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 and Regulation 12 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The prosecution arose from an incident on 9 October 2007 in which 33-year-old electrician Simon Hunter, of Keighley, fell three metres through a void on the first floor of a new sports pavilion being built at Bradford Grammar School, Frizinghall Road, Bradford.

Hunter was installing a fire alarm cable when scaffolding guardrails, which were only properly secured at one end, collapsed as he leant over them. He suffered serious injuries and was unable to work for a long period. He is still waiting for corrective surgery.

Allerton Dale & Co was principal contractor on the site and had failed to carry out adequate safety inspections.

HSE inspector David Stewart said: "The company is in liquidation, but it was a serious incident. It was deemed in the public interest to prosecute the company, even though it will no longer be trading, to send a message to other principal contractors. Principal contractors need to make sure they are complying with all their duties to ensure their sites are safe and inspections are carried out."