Death Puts Spotlight On Dangers Of Falls From Height

Two Firms Fined Over Fatal Incident

27.07.2011

The total fine of over £500,000 in relation to case in which a worker suffered fatal injuries in a fall from height emphasises the importance for firms to take workplace safety seriously, an expert at Irwin Mitchell has warned.

RWE Npower and AMEC Group were ordered to pay a total of £510,000 last month after being sentenced over the death of Christopher Booker, who suffered chest and pelvic injuries after falling 12 metres though an opening on a platform at Aberthaw Power Station in June 2007.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that inadequate precautions were taken to protect people working close to the large unprotected opening, while there was also confusion between the two firms as to which was responsible for controlling work on-site.

David Urpeth, a workplace injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said the tragic case demonstrated why health and safety must always be a priority.

He explained: “The seeming lack of communication between these two firms, as well as general failures to follow safety regulations, meant that Mr Booker suffered a fall from height in an accident which was wholly avoidable.

“Injuries sustained in falls from height, when not fatal, are often incredibly devastating and it is vital that companies do everything in their power to protect workers from risks.

“It is unacceptable that anyone’s wellbeing should be placed at risk and we would urge any companies involved in similar work or projects that often involve working at height to provide necessary tools and protective equipment, as well as the correct training and guidance.

“Such measures will hopefully go some way to ensuring that this awful incident is not repeated.”