Property Company Fined £200,000 After Fall Leaves Worker Paralysed

A property management company has received a £200,000 fine after a worker suffered life-changing injuries after a fall at work.

The asbestos surveyor fell eight metres through a rooflight while carrying out a roof survey on a community centre in Glasgow. He must now use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

City Property LLP plead guilty to breaching health and safety law at Glasgow Sheriff Court in December.

What happened?

The employee, Robin Williamson, was surveying the roof of Netherton Community Centre in Glasgow when the incident occurred on 5 April 2018.

He fell eight metres through a rooflight and sustained multiple serious injuries, including skull fractures, a bleed on the brain, and spine and rib fractures.

Mr Williamson has post traumatic amnesia for five weeks after the accident. He was released from hospital in October 2018 after spending six months there.

As a result of his injuries, Mr Williamson now uses a wheelchair.

What health and safety legislation was broken?

HSE launched an investigation into the incident, and found that City Property LLP has failed to comply with Section 2(1), 2(2)(a) and (c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974:

2(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

2(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—

(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;

(b) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

It was found the company had failed to fulfil their legal responsibilities to ensure the safety of Mr Williamson at work. There was no safe system of work in place for working at height, and there was no plan in place to identify and mitigate the risks.

HSE response

Cameron Adam, principal inspector at HSE, said: “Falls from a height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and significant injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Falls from height are avoidable and Mr Williamson’s accident would have been prevented had the risks been properly assessed and the appropriate control measures implemented.

“Employers should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.

How to prevent accidents when working at height

If your employees work at height, it’s essential to provide adequate training so they know how to carry out their work safely.

HCS Safety provides a range of work at height training courses:

To discuss the best training for your team, contact our expert team today.