August 11, 2016
An Essex school has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £1,477 costs for a maintenance worker´s fall from height at a hearing of Chelmsford Crown Court.
Keith Chandler (63) was a member of a maintenance team restoring the Grade II listed Newnum House when, on February 17th2015, he fell 2.6 metres from the roof of a bay window he was helping to repair. As a result of the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Keith suffered five damaged vertebrae a bruised kidney and a hairline fracture of his shoulder.
Despite being able to return to work within six weeks, Keith is still unable to climb ladders or lift heavy loads eighteen months after his maintenance worker´s fall from height. The accident has also had an impact on his personal live. The pain Keith experiences in his back prevents him from enjoying his leisure time playing with his grandchildren.
An investigation into the maintenance worker´s fall from height was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that Keith´s employers – the Brentwood School in Essex, on whose grounds the listed building is located – had breached Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to conduct a risk assessment or install guardrails.
The HSE prosecuted the Brentwood School´s trust – the Brentwood School Charitable Incorporated Organisation – and a hearing to hear the charges was held this week at the Chelmsford Crown Court before Judge Charles Gratwicke.
At the hearing, Judge Gratwicke was told that although health and safety policies existed, they were rarely enforced. The school´s former maintenance manager – Anthony Bridger – told the judge that the policies were difficult to enforce because the maintenance team consisted of tradesmen who were “old school and just wanted to get on with the job in the easiest way”.
Representatives of the Brentwood School acknowledged that the work was not closely supervised and admitted liability for the maintenance worker´s fall from height. Judge Gratwicke fined the school £40,000 and ordered it pay £1,477 costs – commenting that the outcome could have been much more serious if Keith had landed on his head when he fell.