Demolition company forced to pay £15 000 after worker falls five metres

The HSE is warning companies to take risk assessments seriously and to ensure measures identified to control risks are properly implemented following the prosecution of a demolition firm over a workplace injury to an electrician.

Wooldridge Ecotec of Surrey was fined £15 000 and £4971 in costs after a breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Company director Nicholas Anderson was also fined £5000 and £1657 costs.

Electrician Barry Murrell suffered a broken pelvis, fractured hip and a broken rib after a five metre fall.

Murrell stepped on some steel sheet material that was covering a hole and consequently gave way. The incident occurred in the tower of the former Pirelli Cables factory in Erith.

HSE inspector Loraine Charles said: “The risks of falls from height on this demolition project and the measures needed to control those risked had been identified on more than one occasion; Woolridge simply failed to implement the necessary measures.”

Anderson did not carry out any risk assessments or prevent access to the tower when the area within it became hazardous. He also failed to implement the findings of a previous risk assessment for work being carried out by subcontracted electricians.