Liverpool firm is fined £15,000 after concrete layer is seriously injured following fall through unprotected liftshaft well

Fresh warning have been issued by the Health and Safety Executive for employers to prevent falls in the work place, following the prosecution of a Liverpool construction company.

J&D Property Services Ltd was yesterday fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and regulation 6(3) of the 2005 Work at Height Regulations Act.

The prosecution follows HSE’s investigation into an incident in July 2006, when a 22-year-old concrete layer, employed by sub-contractors R&J Concrete Flooring Ltd, fell four metres through a hole into a liftshaft well, which had not been made safe.

The investigation concluded that the lift shaft was not covered securely and that the edges had been inadequately protected.

HSE Construction Inspector Sarah Wadham said: “J&D Property Services Ltd placed its employees at risk while working at height."

The boarding that had been put in place was more dangerous than the opening itself

Sarah Wadham

"The boarding that had been put in place was more dangerous than the opening itself, because it provided a false sense of security to those who worked nearby. When the injured person stepped on the boarding it collapsed under him, and he fell through the opening to the ground below."

Falls from height are the most common cause of deaths in the workplace. In 2006/07, 45 people died as a result of falling from height at work, and 3,750 suffered major injuries.

Wadham said: "The company failed to manage the site properly, sent an unsupervised apprentice to carry out work to protect the voids and exposed many workers to risks from falling through a lift shaft opening which was inadequately protected.”