Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Construction firm fined £120,000 after labourer fell through sports hall roof at school in Sevenoaks

A CONSTRUCTION company working on a school site in Seal Hollow Road, Sevenoaks, has been fined after one of their employees broke both wrists when he fell through a fragile rooflight on the roof of a sports hall undergoing refurbishment.

The building was originally part of the complex used by Wildernesse School before it closed and became part of Knole Academy in 2010.  The site is now occupied by two new schools, The Weald of Kent Grammar School annexe and Trinity School.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 10 January 2017, the worker, who was employed as a labourer for Willmott Dixon Construction Limited, tripped and fell about three and a half metres to a concrete floor below.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found he fell as he was clearing waste from the roof with three other labourers. Earlier in the project, access to the fragile rooflights had been prevented, but preventative measures had been removed, without other measures being put into place.

Willmott Dixon Construction Limited of Munro House, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3472.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Green said “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities and serious injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“In this case, measures to prevent falls had been in place earlier in the project, but had been removed, without alternative measures being put into place. Had the worker landed differently, the injuries could have been more serious, or even fatal.”

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