£214k Fine After Worker's 10m Fall

Fall From Height


A waste management company and its contractor have been fined more than £200,000 after an employee fell over 10 metres onto a bundle of copper pipes.

The prosecution follows an incident on July 5, 2007 when the employee of contractor Hansen Transmissions (HTL), of Nile Street, Huddersfield, was was working to replace a gearbox within a condenser unit at Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham's (VESB), site on James Road, Tyseley.

As he was doing so he fell from the unit and landed on a pallet of bundled narrow bore copper pipes, which broke his potentially fatal fall and absorbed much of the impact.

As a result he suffered serious injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung and a hernia.
HTL pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at Birmingham Crown Court and was fined a total of £70,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs.

VESB also pleaded guilty to breaching the same act and was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Paul Smith said: "This incident resulted in serious injuries which could so easily have been fatal. The man involved is lucky to be alive.

"Falls from height are serious and are the major cause of fatal injuries across all industries."

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fines imposed following the serious accident at work.  Falls from a height remain a major source of serious and fatal injuries and I would urge employers to ensure that their employees are kept safe whilst engaged in work at height.

“All too often, I am asked to assist workers pursue their compensation claims following a work accident, the circumstances of which could so easily have been avoided.”