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Company fined over worker fall

A Lancashire company must pay £21,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell five metres at a construction site in Tunbridge Wells.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted ECH Ltd − trading as Maple Timber Frames and registered in Preston − following an incident on November 18, 2008.

A self-employed timber frame erector, who was subcontracted to the company, was working at height on a self-build project at Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells.

He fell around five metres to the bottom of an inadequately covered stairwell., suffering a fractured skull and other serious injuries.

At Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, ECH Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 towards the HSE investigation costs.

Melvyn Stancliffe, Inspector of Health and Safety, said: “I would echo the magistrates’ statement that these were reckless breaches of the law. The injured man is extremely lucky - despite the severity of his injuries. This sort of fall could easily have killed him. It is all the sadder because it should have been prevented if ECH Ltd had heeded simple safety advice.”

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