Preseli Construction & Maintenance admitted failing to ensure work was properly planned and supervised

A Welsh contractor has been fined and its director banned from running a company after a labourer fell 7m from an unguarded balcony.

Karl Kraus, 31, from Pembroke Dock, was helping to build a large domestic property at Incline Way, Saundersfoot, when he was instructed to remove a concrete block that had been placed across a doorway.

As he threw the block, Kraus fell backwards on to the balcony and then 7m to the ground below.

The Health and Safety Executive found that the three-storey house was being built without scaffolding or any form of fall prevention.

Preseli Construction & Maintenance Ltd and its director, Christopher Newell, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that work at height was properly planned and supervised.

Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court heard that Kraus spent six days in Morriston Hospital in Swansea after the incident on 25 March 2010. He underwent surgery to pin the bone in his left heel and was in a plaster cast for around 10 months.

Mr Kraus remains in constant pain and is unable to walk on uneven ground without risking a fall. He is due to undergo further surgery to prevent any further damage to his foot, but his career in the construction industry is over.

Preseli Construction & Maintenance Ltd of Pembroke Dock was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,376.25.

Christopher Newell was fined £4,000, with costs of £2,376.25. He is also disqualified from acting as a company director, managing or in any way controlling a company for at least two years.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells said: “Mr Kraus is still a young man whose life has been turned upside down after receiving significant long-term injuries in this incident.

“He is no longer able to do any of the simplest things that many people take for granted, like playing with his children or going for a walk in the countryside with his partner.

“This is a typical example of high-risk work being conducted in an unsafe manner. Had scaffolding been put in place, this incident could so easily have been prevented.”