A construction firm has been fined £144,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell off a roof during demolition work.
Southwark Crown Court heard that two people working for the construction company Montway were working on the roof of a two storey detached house in Golders Green, London, in February 2013.
No scaffolding had been provided and the work was not being supervised. One of the workers fell from the partly demolished roof and suffered serious injuries.
The worker fell a total of five metres to the ground and sustained injuries including a fractured spine. He was put in an induced coma for two weeks and had to stay in hospital for three months.
Two weeks following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection of the site. The investigation found that unsupervised demolition work was still being carried out, among a number of other issues. Broken pieces of asbestos, which had been removed from the house, were found in a pile near a neighbour’s hedge.
HSE served enforcement notices immediately to ensure workers and members of the public were protected.
Montway Limited of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay £43,606.15 in costs.
The company originally pleaded not guilty, but changed their plea and sought a Newton hearing to determine numerous issues it disputed. The Newton Hearing took placed before District Judge Roscoe on 23rd and 24th May 2016.
HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said, following the hearing: “This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway Limited’s site documents even identified it was needed.
“Montway Limited sought a Newton hearing so they could dispute numerous issues in front of a district judge. They were unsuccessful and the judge’s ruling confirmed she was satisfied that their approach towards the welfare of their employees was lax and casual, and it was their overall poor management of health and safety that directly led to this incident.”