A construction company has been fined £80,000 with costs after an employee fell through a plasterboard ceiling onto a staircase below.
The court heard that the employee was working in a loft space when he fell through a plasterboard ceiling, puncturing a lung, fracturing six ribs, a vertebra and shoulder. The HSE investigation which followed the incident found that there was poor planning of the pre-plaster work, a lack of understanding of the risks associated with working at height in the loft without fragile surface protection.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations.
Commenting after the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: "Falls from height remain the most common cause of work-related fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry and the risks associated with working at height are well known."
"Working on or near fragile materials at height can be particularly dangerous and it is very important that those in control of the work identify the risk, plan to eliminate it if possible, or where it is not possible, take appropriate precautions to safeguard workers and others. Good management will also include regular monitoring that the controls in place are keeping people safe."
How Joist Safety Matting Could Have Helped
Our Joist Safety Matting has been designed specifically to allow work in lofts to be carried out safely and to overcome the risk of people falling through fragile plasterboard as happened in this incident.
The system can be laid quickly and safely between joists to provide strong, safe temporary protection for those working in unboarded lofts.