Two companies have been fined £46,000 in total after a labourer from Runcorn fractured his skull.

The man had been working on a new build house when he fell through a stairwell on 3 March 2021.

The 46-year-old, who was 43 at the time, was on the first floor in one of the new terraced properties clearing debris and mortar that had been left behind by bricklayers. He had climbed up the first floor using a ladder at the stairwell opening, which had been covered with temporary boards. The boards were slid apart to allow access to the first floor. However, he fell through the stairwell opening onto the ground floor below as there were no floorboards underneath the temporary boards. He fractured his skull, sustained multiple broken ribs and needed a plate to be inserted into his collarbone.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found both the principal contractor and the contractor in control of the work activity, had failed to plan, manage and monitor work at the site to ensure it could be carried out safely. Any worker accessing the first floor was at risk of injury due to a lack of appropriate measures for preventing falls from height.


Further relevant resources from the AIF

The case above highlights the risks involved when access to upper floors and work at height is not properly planned, managed and monitored.

The Access Industry Forum (AIF) previously joined forces with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to release a series of informative work at height toolbox talks (TBTs) to shine the spotlight on height safety.

As part of the series, AIF member FASET developed a set of Access Platform Decking TBTs, which contains key guidance on Access Hatches.

You can download these, and all the other talks in the series, from the HBF website (scroll down to the ‘Platform Decking Safety Toolkits for Industry’ section on that page).