Firms fined over £600k after man dies from fall from height

Source: HSE

A further two companies have been fined after a man died following a fall from the roof of a building site in Warrington when installing a lightning protection system.

Dennis Vincent and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of an office block being converted into flats in Warrington on 24 February 2021.

Dennis 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 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 was found guilty of breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 on 30 November 2023 and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £58,448 in costs.

Prestige Security Installations Limited was found guilty of breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs.

This follows Dennis’ employer, PTSG Electrical Services Limited, being fined £120,000 in February after failing to adequately assess the risks associated with the working at height.

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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