MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Management failings on construction site accident

A carpenter working on a house refurbishment project at Tregaron, Ceredigion, in August 2011 fell more than seven metres from the top of an unsecured ladder causing severe back injuries from which he has yet to fully recover.


The incident prompted an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which today (23 January) concluded a prosecution against his employer, Richard Morgan, of Davies and Morgan Carpenters, at Swansea Crown Court.


Whilst the fall was not a factor in the sentencing, the court heard Morgan had not received training in the management of health and safety on construction sites and had not appointed a competent person to manage or supervise the work. He had not undertaken a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to his employees and had allowed them to alter and work on unsafe scaffolding.


Richard Morgan, of Cwmann, Lampeter pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 13 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.


Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Phil Nicolle, said:


"This case highlights the duty that all construction contractors have to plan, manage and monitor their work activities appropriately.


"Small construction companies cannot ignore their responsibility to effectively manage health and safety. Reliance on experience is not enough. Managers and supervisors must be suitably trained to enable them to fulfill their duties and ensure the safety of their workers.


"When using scaffolding, contractors must ensure that it has been erected by a competent person and has been inspected prior to use and at least every seven days afterwards. Any modifications to scaffolding must also be undertaken by someone with appropriate training and experience."

Info Bite No. 109
January 2013