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Worker Seriously Injured After Lift Pit Fall

A construction company from Cardiff has appeared in court on health and safety charges after a worker was seriously injured falling down a lift pit.

The man was a specialist drilling contractor and had been employed by the construction company to help refurbish a care home.

As he stepped from some scaffolding onto the ground floor he stood on a loose concrete block causing him to fall backwards, head-first, into a skip full of rubble in the basement of a lift pit that was under construction.

He suffered shattered vertebrae, five broken ribs, a punctured lung and spent 18 days in hospital. He is still recovering and although not paralysed, his injuries were life-changing and he will not return to work.

When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident, it found that the company had been using a system of lightweight barriers around the edges of the drop, along with bean bags at the bottom of the hole, but these were incompatible with all of the work that needed to be done by the different contractors and had been removed. Following the incident, all of the danger areas were fenced with scaffolding.

The HSE also discovered numerous management failings associated with this project, including a lack of effective site management and supervision, a construction plan that did not properly consider obvious working at height risks and a lack of an effective Temporary Works Management System.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, Regulation 13(1) and Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3) and was fined £143,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,029.

“It is crucial that construction firms properly think through the risks involved before starting work, they then need to ensure there is a workable plan to iron-out or manage the resultant dangers,” commented HSE Inspector Liam Osborne.

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