Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 May 2018, workers were laying cabling and ducting in loft spaces at newly built residential properties in Swanmore, Southampton without suitable or sufficient protection from falls at height.
A 49-year-old electrician fell through the plasterboard loft flooring sustaining multiple fractures to his ribs, shoulders and vertebrae. He also suffered a punctured lung.
An HSE investigation found that BDW Trading Ltd – the registered name of Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes – and Quayside Electrical Ltd had failed to prevent a fall from height.
The loft space had been created by installing the ceiling of the room below using plasterboard, known as top tacking, before the electricians had completed the installation of cables and ducting.
This meant that work in the loft was above fragile plasterboard and sufficient precautions were not taken by either company to prevent the electrician from falling through it.
BDW Trading Ltd of Coalville, Leicestershire pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and was fined £140,000, ordered to pay costs of £3,689.15 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Quayside Electrical Ltd of Southampton, Hampshire also pleaded guilty and was fined £20,000 ordered to pay costs of £3,521.15 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Fiona Woods said: “Falls from height remain the most common cause of work-related fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry.
“The risks associated with working at height are well known. It is important that those in control of working at height take appropriate control measures to safeguard workers and others.”