The owners of Westfield shopping centre in West London have been fined following a worker falling from height during a construction extension project. The man fell two metres down an unguarded gap on the roof and sustained a dislocated and fractured shoulder.
The court were informed that Westfield Shopping towns Ltd was principle contractor for the project that covered the construction of a two storey roof extension to an existing store. The worker was one of a team of subcontractors hired to relocate air supply and recirculation units on the roof.
An investigation by the HSE found that the workers were undertaking final safety checks before the Christmas break and found some materials needed to be properly secured. During this work he stepped backwards and fell down the unprotected gap measuring 8×1 metre.
The man was unable to work for 6 months following the incident.
The HSE investigation also revealed that the fall could have easily been avoided if edge protection had been put around the gap; also the gap was one of a number of similar unprotected gaps across the roof area.
The HSE identified that Westfield’s had responsibility as principle contractor to make sure steps were taken to mitigate such risks and that they had failed to do so. They were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,247.
Clearly it would not have taken a lot to make this safe and this painful injury could and should have been avoided.
The HSE are looking to remind businesses that falls from height remains the biggest cause of workplace fatalities and the second biggest cause of serious injuries.