Further fines after fatal fall on office conversion

Grant Prior 3 months ago
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A further two companies have been fined after a dad died following a fall from the roof of a building site in Warrington.

An HSE evidence photo of the accident scene
An HSE evidence photo of the accident scene

Father-of-one Dennis Vincent, 36, and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of an office block being converted into flats.

Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was lowering the access equipment from the roof, using a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level. As he did so, both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.

The incident happened on 24 February 2021 at Palmyra House, Palmyra Square in Warrington.

Inco Contracts Limited and Prestige Security Installations Limited were fined last week after an HSE investigation.

The companies were found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations following a three-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year. In February, PTSG Electrical Services Limited, Vincent’s employer, was fined £120,000 after the company failed to adequately assess the risks associated with the working at height.

The HSE investigation found that Inco Contracts Limited, the principal contractor for the project, and Prestige Security Installations Limited, the contractor in control of the electrical installation package, failed to ensure that the lightning protection work was properly planned and failed in their duties to manage and monitor the work to ensure it was carried out safely.

Due consideration had not been given to safer methods of working at height, such as the use of scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), and the workers had been given no instruction or safe means of getting their equipment down from the roof.

Inco Contracts Limited, of Dunston, Stafford, Staffordshire, was found guilty of breaching the CDM Regulations and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £58,448 in costs.

Prestige Security Installations Limited, of Sycamore Lane, Great Sankey, Warrington, was also found guilty of CDM Regulation breaches and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said: “It is vitally important that work at height is properly planned; where it isn’t, the risks can lead to the most serious of consequences.  As such, duties are placed on all those involved in construction work to ensure that the risks are properly assessed and suitable control measures are implemented.

“Principal contractors and contractors should be aware that appointing subcontractors with specific specialisms does not remove the duty that they have to ensure the work has been properly planned and can be undertaken safely.

“Had Inco Contracts Limited and Prestige Security Installations Limited properly reviewed PTSG Electrical Services Limited’s proposals for carrying out the work, they could have ensured suitable controls were in place prior to work starting and this tragic incident could have been avoided.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Dennis Vincent, a husband and father, who did not return home on 24 February 2021 because of the significant failings of these three companies.”

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