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Worker's 21m Fall Costs Firms £125k

Fall From Height


Two construction companies, which were responsible for a worker who fell 21 metres and sustained serious injures, have been fined £125,000.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Laing O'Rourke Construction Limited and Expanded Structures Limited after employee Steven McColgan fell from a hospital building in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The 37-year-old from Edinburgh was working on the construction of the adult block of the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) on October 20, 2006, when the accident happened.

Mr McColgan plunged 21 metres to the ground after standing on part of an unsupported working platform which broke away, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Mr McColgan suffered serious multiple injuries to his head and body in the fall and his injuries continue to be life-changing.

The HSE investigation revealed that sections of the false work, acting as a temporary structure supporting the working platform, were removed before work on the concrete slab was complete.

Both companies, which are based at Bridge Place, Anchor Boulevard, Admiral's Place, Crossways in Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Laing O'Rourke Construction Ltd was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,756 and Expanded Structures Ltd was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,154.

Copyright © Press Association 2010
David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “This was a horrific work accident.

“The construction industry is the industrial sector where a worker is most likely to be injured or killed in an accident at work. Falls from height remain a major category of serious injury and death.

“I welcome the fines imposed and hope they will act as an incentive to others within the industry to provide workers with a safe place and a safe system of work.“